Spatial nature of urban well-being

Sanna Ala-Mantila*, Jukka Heinonen, Seppo Junnila, Perttu Saarsalmi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
347 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-973
Number of pages15
JournalRegional Studies
Issue number7
Early online date15 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • cities
  • happiness
  • inequality
  • quality of life
  • subjective well-being
  • urbanization


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