Green Space – It’s Ours To Enjoy

If there was one thing that I learned in business school, it was not about the undeveloped value of green spaces. In fact, from my experience at Wayne State University, “green space” was many times viewed in the context of future-developed value. I’m not picking on business schools or my alma mater; obviously the purpose of those exercises was to teach concepts using something simple and relatable. One thing I did learn in my studies though was that when making decisions, business leaders should look deeper into the information than others typically do. As business leaders we should ask ourselves broader questions while challenging our natural tendency to accept quick conclusions.

So here’s something that I did not learn in business school and it is definitely not something that is learned quickly. I’ve learned it from being a longtime resident of Rochester Hills. Green space has value to this community. It has value to most of the people that I know in Rochester Hills. Green space is appreciated in Rochester Hills just for its present value in its natural state. Our residents like wooded lots, mature trees and vast amounts of green grass. Rochester Hills residents like their parks, their trails, and their acquired green space properties. The value of our green space is appreciated not necessarily for its use, or even for walking our family pets through. Our residents merely enjoy seeing green spaces filled with trees, plant life, and hills. Many who I’ve talked to about this subject have made comments such as, “We almost feel the space mentally as we work and live in the community.” I’ve often told my wife that I know I’m getting close to home  after returning from a business trip when the trees get taller and the houses get further apart.

So going back to business school, how would I quantify the value of undeveloped green space? That is, how would we add it all up and put a price tag on it? The quick answer is, we can’t! What we all know as city leaders and involved residents is that these spaces are the essence of why we all choose to live in Rochester Hills. It’s why we and others like us were willing to pay a premium to reside here. Now, someone might say that it was the schools, the city services, or other attributes that ranked higher on their list, but I would submit to them that it was the majority’s appreciation for green space that indirectly provided the benefits that they appreciate. Just as New York’s Central Park or Chicago’s Lakeshore Drive have undeveloped value, so do the green spaces in Rochester Hills. Sure, we can use an acre multiplier to quickly assess the dollar value of any green space in our city, but it is the deeper thought and question that lead us to a higher level of thinking. What would the value of our city and the worth of our homes be without our green space?

As a civic leader in Rochester Hills, I look forward to representing our residents and protecting our most valued resources.

Rochester Hills Councilman
Nathan Klomp