Here’s a fun chart / map combo from Strong Towns, using the excellent land value per acre maps that consultant Urban3 puts out. It shows the value-per-acre for areas around Lake Minnetonka and the South Minneapolis “chain of lakes” area.
Before we get to the chart, check out these maps:
Here are the two charts, showing how value-per-acre decreases as you get farther from each of the “lakes”:
The author’s point is to consider the value of lakes as public or private amenities, and how walkable areas can impact that. Here’s the key analysis:
Although the land surrounding Minnetonka is worth nearly double that of the Minneapolis lakes area, it is more than four times the acreage. Pound for pound, the Minneapolis lakes pack a significantly bigger punch in terms of land value; the average land VPA is $1.2 million, while Minnetonka’s is a little over a half million. This refers to the value of the underlying land alone.
Furthermore, the total (land + structure) VPA sets the two areas even further apart. The Minneapolis lakes have a total VPA of nearly $4 million, more than quadrupling Minnetonka’s total VPA.
We can also understand the value of public lake access by comparing the relationship between distance from the water and land VPA in each surrounding area, as opposed to only the lakeside properties. A small gap at the leftmost edge of the Minneapolis Lakes graph shows where public paths, green space and a street separate residential uses from the lake. In the Minnetonka graph, taxable land value starts immediately at the left (a distance of 0 meters from the water).
Especially given how fractal and weird Lake Minnetonka is, this is pretty cool data!