Benefit–cost analysis of lake conservation with emphasis on aesthetics in developing countries
Urban water bodies like lakes, wetlands and rivers carry a number of intangible benefits. In order to assess true value of societal welfare and benefits derived from these assets, social benefit cost analysis (SBCA) should be preferred. Hedonic pricing method has been used in the present study for capturing the aesthetic benefit of the Sukhna Lake of Chandigarh City and then using the results in benefit cost analysis for the lake conservation project. Distance from the Sukhna Lake has been found as most important variable affecting urban residential plot rates in the city. The results indicate that the rate of residential plots decreases at Rs 9.20 (US $0.16) per sq yard for each metre of the distance from the lake. The results of the study can prove useful for urban land use planners, and urban nature conservationists for designing the networks of water bodies and green patches in cities of developing countries.
Keywords: urban lakes, urban environmental attributes, social benefit cost analysis, SBCA, hedonic pricing method, HPM, travel cost method, TCM, green spaces, urban greenery, water bodies, cost–benefit analysis, lake conservation, aesthetics, intangible benefits, India, urban land use, land use planning, urban nature conservation, water networks, developing countries