The way that “hotspots” such as parks or nearby noisy highways influence the evaluation of other spaces, such as homes for sale, has been carefully studied. Blaison, Gollwitzer, and Hess found that “Irrespective of intrinsic [inherent] neighborhood attractiveness, pleasantness ratings went up with increasing distance from negative hotspots [that noisy highway]. . . . negative hotspots are much more harmful to attractive neighborhoods than to unattractive ones. Indeed, the more distant locations of unattractive neighborhoods even ‘benefit’ from a contrast effect that makes these places look nicer in comparison to places that are located closer [to that negative hotspot]. . . . . [Neighborhood attractiveness] . . . influenced the evaluation of the hotspot itself. An urban park was seen as less attractive in a highly salient [noticeable] unattractive neighborhood than in an attractive one.”
Christophe Blaison, Mario Gollwitzer, and Ursula Hess. “Effects of ‘Hotspots’ as a Function of Intrinsic Neighborhood Attractiveness.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press.