IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Defining the quality of urban life: Which factors should be considered?


  • Eva Psatha


  • Alex Deffner
  • Yannis Psycharis



In 2010 the World Health Organisation dedicated the Word Health Day to urbanization and health, highlighting the impacts of urban living on physical and mental health. This is because it is increasingly acknowledged that cities face various problems that undermine the quality of urban life, inequalities, urban crime, poor environment, and traffic congestion. Despite this fact, cities continue to play a vital role in development, as they offer higher education, specialized services and jobs. When it comes to an assessment of the living conditions and well-being in cities, economic indices have failed to capture the aforementioned contradiction of urban life. A concept able to monitor the multidimensional nature of cities seems to be the "quality of urban life" (QOUL). The multidimensionality of the QOUL concept reflects the variety of the examined dimensions, but also the range of the different uses of the term. Many different approaches of this concept can be found not only between papers of different disciplines (health sciences, social sciences or planning), but also in the context of the same scientific field. Thus, although there has recently been a remarkable number of comparative studies and papers concerning the evaluation of QOUL in different cities, the factors taken into account are far from being standard. In part, this is because the constituents of the QOUL depend on rather subjective factors, such as culture and tradition in the examined places. However, for a given place and a specific time period there can be an agreement concerning the determinants of QOUL. This will allow for relative research to be comparable and better interpretable. This paper starts with an analysis of the standard approaches of the QOUL concept as they can be found in the relative scientific literature. It continues with the analysis of QOUL determinants in societies, focusing in cities. The criteria taken into account for the measurement of the QOUL in the evaluation of cities and the city rankings are also examined. Finally, a range of factors which can be used as a standard set when examining the QOUL in European cities is proposed.

Suggested Citation

  • Eva Psatha & Alex Deffner & Yannis Psycharis, 2011. "Defining the quality of urban life: Which factors should be considered?," ERSA conference papers ersa11p785, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa11p785

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paschalis A. Arvanitidis & Konstantinos Lalenis & George Petrakos & Yannis Psycharis, 2009. "Economic aspects of urban green space: a survey of perceptions and attitudes," International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 11(1/2/3), pages 143-168.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa11p785. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gunther Maier). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.