Urban environmental quality in two Belgian cities, evaluated on the basis of residential choices and GIS data
Our objective in this paper is to analyse empirically the effects of environmental quality on residential location choices in two Belgian cities, using a detailed description of the urban environment derived from remotely sensed data and using GIS tools. According to urban models which include amenities, environmental quality may influence land rents and location by income in the city. In order to test these relations, average land rents and mean income per district are regressed on distance to the centre and several environmental characteristics, using the instrumental variables method in order to take account of endogeneity. Fourteen environmental variables, representing socioeconomic facilities and natural attributes are obtained from aerial photographs, satellite images, and ancillary data. Their spatial representations are constructed using GIS functions. The empirical results confirm the impact of greenery on location choice and the existence of a higher environmental quality at the periphery than near the centre of the two cities. They also reveal that the impact of environmental quality components on residential location depends on the shape and history of the cities and on the relative scarcity of the environmental attributes.
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