URI professor Corey Lang awarded $1M to study how people value open space

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Corey Lang, associate professor of environmental and natural resource economics at the University of Rhode Island, wants to know what value people place on non-market goods, including open space.

“Preserved open space is a public good that isn’t bought and sold in a traditional market place, and thus there is no price on it,” Lang said in a statement. “Because there is no price, it’s difficult to infer how much people value open space, even though it’s clear they do.”

A recent recipient of two Department of Agriculture grants totaling $1 million, Lang plans to research trends associated with the value people place on non-market goods and their impact on the price of additional goods and services. For example, open space such as parks and recreational areas can influence the value people place on real estate.

Lang will conduct his study by examining where people live and how they vote on environmental referenda.

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In total, Lang has been awarded more than $2.4 million in research funding over the past seven years since joining the URI faculty. Among his other research interests is the relationship between the local community and the nation’s first offshore wind farm near Block Island.

In a study funded by Rhode Island Sea Grant, using data from real estate transactions and rentals, he is examining the economic impact of the wind farm on tourism.

His 2013 examination of onshore wind turbines in Rhode Island found the installations had no effect on property values.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email, gowdey-backus@pbn.com.