Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 363–386 | Cite as

The Role of Diseconomies of Transportation and Public Safety Problems in the Measurement of Urban Quality of Life

  • Arlette Pichardo-Muñiz


Quality of Life has become an issue of urban research due to a greater awareness of its contribution when identifying areas for intervention and when monitoring urban planning policies. This case study from Costa Rica refers to the role of diseconomies of transportation and public safety problems in the measurement of urban quality of life. Theoretically, urban diseconomies, or negative externalities, are the result of rises in average total costs over time as production increases and of the use of certain factors without increasing scales. The cost of urban diseconomies related to transportation and to public safety problems affects both external conditions contributing to quality of life (e.g.: level of income, access to services and resources and productivity) and people’s subjective perspective of quality of life in various domains (e.g.: stress, time use, leisure time and so on). These deficiencies have led to the reversal of gains from concentrated economic activities and positive externalities achieved by agglomerated dwellings thus becoming urban diseconomies. An analysis is provided of city living and its ever-growing problems warranting new styles of planning, regulations, and urban management, along with physical intervention based on comprehensive, innovative technical solutions. The data comes from various sources, and a statistical model was used to obtain estimates and projected data. The results suggest that if measures are not taken to reverse current urban growth and the expansion of the Greater Metropolitan Area, people’s opportunities and fundamental rights of access to capacity building, potentially allowing them to have more meaningful lifestyles, will be restricted.


Quality of life Costa Rica Greater Metropolitan Area Urban diseconomies 



This paper is the result of various research projects coordinated by the author, at the International Center of Economic Policy (CINPE, acronym in Spanish) of the Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica. The opinions expressed herein are the author’s responsibility and do not necessarily respond to institutional positions. The author wishes to recognize Marco Otoya’s contribution as a CINPE researcher, and is also grateful to Pablo César Cuello, Alfonso R. Bencosme and Sherry Gapper for translating the article to English and proofreading it, and to Joseph Sirgy for his helpful comments during the preparation of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V./The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Internacional Center on Economic Policy (CINPE by acronym in Spanish)Universidad Nacional (Costa Rica)HerediaCosta Rica

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