Teaching and Learning Quality of Life in Urban Studies: A Mixed-Methods Approach with Walking Interviews

  • Javier MartinezEmail author
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 79)


This chapter presents an approach for teaching and learning quality of life (QoL) in urban studies. It starts with a theoretical discussion on how the field of urban studies relates to the concepts of QoL. It is contextualized within two higher education courses in an MSc specialization on Urban Planning and Management (UPM). This UPM specialization emphasizes the relevance that QoL studies have to practice and policy by linking the need for a better understanding of QoL conditions with equity and social justice. This chapter relies on the critical documentation of these two courses carried out with a group of international students in the last 10 years. The chapter discusses the teaching of social indicators in order to assess conditions and differential access to resources and opportunities in urban areas as well as qualitative methods. It proposes a reflective an open spiral learning process where students are encouraged to define and operationalise spatial indicators to measure intra-urban quality of life variations and to critically use context sensitive methods such as walking interviews. The teaching described is grounded in the fields of planning, geography, critical cartography and mixed-methods. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the main challenges of this approach.


Quality of life Urban studies Planning Geography Teaching and learning Higher education Mixed-methods GIS Walking interviews 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-Information ManagementUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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