I and many others who are interested in urban environments appreciate the value a public park can add. Two that come to my mind in major US metro areas are Central Park in NYC and Golden Gate Park in SF.
My question is: how do we calculate or value the utility that these spaces provide a city compared to the massive forgone tax revenue and economic activity that otherwise might occupy the space if it were not used for a pleasant green space?
Is there any theory as to how one allocates an efficient amount of park or green space? I know there are private parks that presumably charge for admission, although I do not see many of them, leading me to believe that park space is not a very efficient use of such a limited supply of land located in a metropolitan area.
While a park may not be profitable, are the positive externalities that result worth it? Are there any ways we try to calculate or value the positive externalities when devoting extremely valuable land to green space?
Would love to hear thoughts on the questions above!