The Keys to Happiness in City Living

Ariel Schwartz reports on the findings of a new study from Urban Affairs Review that surveyed residents from 10 major international cities on what qualities make them most happy.

According to Schwartz, the findings show a significant association between happiness and the built urban environment. "In general, respondents were happiest when their cities had easy access to public transportation, cultural activities, libraries, shops, and sports facilities." Moreover, respondents attributed amenities like clean drinking water and a safe environment as important to their levels of happiness.

Interestingly, the study showed that the concept of a "beautiful city" had little to do with a city's cleanliness. "Living in a ‘beautiful city' was the most important predictor of happiness among survey respondents, but having clean streets, sidewalks, and public spaces weren't rated as being important," writes Schwartz.

Researchers speculate that connectedness is also a key to happiness, pointing to a major difference between the designs of city environments and gated suburban communities. A city is designed and built around shared space, which promotes the building of social connections through shared experiences. Whereas the typical gated suburb, in its layout and appearance, discourages such connections, and by inference, makes people less happy.

Full Story: Forget The Suburbs: Living In Beautiful, Well-Designed Cities Makes People Happy


Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $50.
$369 includes free shipping!