Recreation-amenity use and contingent valuation of urban greenspaces in Guangzhou, China

Chi Yung JIM, Wendy Y. CHEN

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309 Citations (Scopus)


Recreational opportunities and amenities are important human-use services generated by urban greenspaces. This study explored the use of pattern and behavior of urban greenspaces in Guangzhou city, south China. The monetary value of the non-priced benefits was gauged by the contingent valuation method using willingness-to-pay and open-ended payment card approaches. A questionnaire gleaned data by face-to-face interviews of 340 respondents in the 18-70 age group, dwelling in 34 residential street blocks selected by clustered sampling. Guangzhou residents actively used urban greenspaces, accompanied mainly by family members. Parks were the most popular venues, whereas institutional greenspaces served as surrogate parks. Visitation is mainly induced by accessibility, followed by high green coverage and quality of the ambience. Small and low-quality sites near homes were shunned. Residents of the compact city harbored subdued expectation for privacy and solitude. They are accustomed to paying greenspace entrance fees. Ninety-six point six per cent of respondents were willing to pay to use urban greenspaces, notably more than other cities, and indicating the importance of salubrious outdoor recreation as a leisure pursuit. Conservative estimate of average willingness-to-pay was RMB17.40/person/month (US$1.00 = RMB8.26), higher than actual entrance-fee payment. Willingness-to-pay was significantly associated with income, and its marginal effect verified by an ordered probit model which hinted the treatment of urban greenspaces as superior goods. Aggregate monetary value of urban greenspaces attained RMB547 million per year which outstripped Guangzhou's annual expenditures on urban greenspaces by six times. This study verified the applicability of contingent valuation to urban greenspaces in China with socioeconomic, cultural and political backgrounds that are different from many countries. The results could assist cost-benefit analysis to justify more resources for development and management of urban greenspaces, with implications on incorporating public opinions in a precision planning process in the quest towards sustainable cities. Copyright © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-96
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2006


Jim, C. Y., & Chen, W. Y. (2006). Recreation-amenity use and contingent valuation of urban greenspaces in Guangzhou, China. Landscape and Urban Planning, 75(1-2), 81-96. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2004.08.008


  • Urban greenspace
  • Urban park
  • Recreation planning
  • Environmental goods
  • Natural capital
  • Contingent valuation
  • Willingness-topay
  • Sustainable city
  • Guangzhou
  • China


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