Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 79–96 | Cite as

What is the Strength of the Link Between Objective and Subjective Indicators of Urban Quality of Life?

  • Rod McCreaEmail author
  • Tung-Kai Shyy
  • Robert Stimson


Urban quality of life is usually measured by either subjective indicators using surveys of residents' perceptions, evaluations and satisfaction with urban living or by objective indicators using secondary data and relative weights for objective indicators of the urban environment. However, rarely are subjective and objective indicators of urban quality of life related to each other. In this paper, these two types of indicators were linked using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to both locate respondents to the “2003 Survey of Quality of Life in South East Queensland” and also to gather objective indicators about their urban environment within the region with regard to services, facilities and overcrowding. Using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM), the strength of the relationships between these objective indicators and subjective indicators was examined. The results show that relationships between objective and subjective indicators of urban QOL can be weak, and suggests care should be taken when making inferences about improvements in subjective urban QOL based on improvements in objective urban QOL. However, further research is needed into the links between objective and subjective indicators of urban QOL including examining other aspects of the urban environment, non-linear relationships, and moderating effects for individual differences.


urban community quality of life objective subjective social indicators GIS 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. / The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research into Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures (CR-SURF), School of Geography, Planning and ArchitectureUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance Griffith University, Mt Gravatt CampusBrisbaneAustralia

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