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Groundbreaking research is at the heart of the CSI project. This includes work on land values, investment decisions, landscape quality and community engagement. The aim of this research is to build and share knowledge and evidence on the way in which quality environments can be used to secure economic investment.

The initial scoping study for the project found that although several major reports (e.g. PIEDA 1995, ODPM 2002, CABE 2000) highlighted the benefits of high environmental quality within the economic context there were none which examined the impact of the environment on investment and development processes or on commercial property values. The report demonstrated that a wide range of variables affects investor choice of which the environment is one. It identified the lack of understanding and evidence about how the environment influences investor choice and the benefits it brings in helping to make areas more attractive to investors. To address the lack in understanding and evidence a two phased methodology was developed which would firstly quantify the impact of environmental quality on land values and secondly assess the willingness to pay of investors and occupiers for environmental improvements.

Land values. Researchers are collecting data to quantify the impact of landscape quality on land values, by working with valuers to establish the impacts of landscape improvements (e.g. the 'greening' of brownfield sites).

Retrospective cost benefit analysis. Retrospective cost benefit analyses are being carried out in areas previously improved as part of the regeneration of the Ruhr area. This will assess how environmental quality has impacted on land values.

Impact of environmental quality on investor decisions. We are gathering quantitative and qualitative information to increase knowledge of how (and which) landscape and environmental factors affect investment location choices.

Influence of regional environment on investor decisions. This involves developing knowledge on how regional environmental conditions affect investor choice. The research will lead to case studies exploring how planning processes impact upon investor decisions at brownfield and greenfield locations.

Community perceptions and involvement. Interviews are being held with local communities to develop an understanding of the perceived benefits of environmental improvements associated with economic development.


constructing the CSI knowledge base
Constructing the CSI knowledge base

Visualisation of investment location featuring low quality environment

visualisation of investment location featuring high quality environment


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Lead partner
South Yorkshire Forest Partnership /
Sheffield City Council (UK)
C: Tom Wild / Maria Wilding
T: +44 (0)114 257 1199
E: tom.wild@syforest.co.uk / maria.wilding@syforest.co.uk
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