Is the Easy Life Always the Happiest? Examining the Association of Convenience and Well-Being in Taiwan
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Social scientists have under-examined neighborhood stores and other “resources” and their relationships to community welfare and personal happiness. Because the presence of neighborhood conveniences may signify that a neighborhood caters to residents’ needs and smoothes out the hassles of their daily lives, it could be hypothesized that commercial amenities and services enhance individuals’ satisfaction with their neighborhoods, with their health, and even with their lives as a whole. This study used a national probability sample from Taiwan, a densely populated society in East Asia, to test if service-oriented commercial and religious enterprises in neighborhoods are associated with positive estimations of well-being by those who occupy these spaces. We empirically examine whether proximity to main roads, night markets and temples or proximity to smoky food stands and other shops that produce pungent products affects well-being. Our findings from multivariate analyses suggest that if nearby conveniences are conceived as annoyances, they tend to lower satisfaction with neighborhood, but they do not lower life satisfaction in general. In contrast, air quality, along with “peace and quietness” is reported by respondents to be key in enhancing general well-being. We discuss the policy implications in the concluding session.
KeywordsCity Housing Neighborhood Residential satisfaction Happiness
The authors would like to thank Professor Po-Keung Ip and two anonymous reviewers for their invaluable comments for the earlier versions of this article. Any errors remain our responsibility.
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