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Spatial nature of urban well-being

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journal contribution
posted on 14.09.2017, 10:32 by Sanna Ala-Mantila, Jukka Heinonen, Seppo Junnila, Perttu Saarsalmi

The evidence for connections between subjective well-being and spatial factors remains inconclusive, especially with respect to the immediate living environment. To fill this gap, this paper explores the relationship between individual-level subjective well-being and spatial variables in urban areas. This resolution is achieved by utilizing finely divided geographical information system (GIS)-based neighbourhood data, and controlling for objective and subjective spatial characteristics, as well as socio-spatial factors. The results suggest that subjective well-being has some spatial nature, but the direction of these relationships is highly dependent on the subjective well-being measure used. For example, central pedestrian zones flourish in terms of quality of life, whereas the highest happiness is reported in car-oriented zones. Overall, subjective spatial characteristics are more important for well-being than objective ones.


This work was supported by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation [grant number 3000/31/2015].