Modeling Determinants of Subjective QOUL at Different Geographic Scales: The Case of the Brisbane-SEQ Region

  • Rod McCreaEmail author
  • John Western
  • Robert Stimson
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 45)


Using survey data collected from households living in the Brisbane South East Queensland region, a rapidly growing metropolis in Australia, path analysis is used to test links between urban residents’ assessment of various urban attributes and their level of satisfaction in three urban domains: one’s own housing, their neighborhood or local area and the wider metropolitan region. The analysis also shows the relative contribution of those urban domains to overall life satisfaction. Neighborhood satisfaction is shown to be much less important in predicting overall life satisfaction than is satisfaction with housing and the region. More specifically, neighborhood satisfaction impacts indirectly on overall life satisfaction mediated by regional satisfaction and housing satisfaction. In predicting regional satisfaction, the cost of living and government service provision are shown to be most important. Neighborhood satisfaction is best predicted by neighborhood interaction and perceived crime. In contrast, access to facilities is a less important predictor of neighborhood satisfaction. Satisfaction with housing is shown to be best predicted by housing age, temperature, and home ownership. While material concerns like the cost of living and the provision of services are shown to be primary factors underlying overall satisfaction with urban living, the importance of environmental issues and demand for smaller homes might be expected to increase over time.


Life Satisfaction Path Coefficient Home Ownership Baby Boomer Neighborhood Interaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The survey data on which the analysis in this study is based was collected in 1997 with funding support from the Australian Research Council, the Queensland Treasury and the Queensland Department of Local Government and Planning through Australian Research Council Collaborative Project #C595301132. The analysis undertaken for this study has been made possible through funding for Australian Research Council Discovery Project #DP0209146.


  1. Audirac, I., Shermyen, A. H., & Smith, M. T. (1990). Ideal urban form and visions of the good life – Florida growth management dilemma. Journal of the American Planning Association, 56(4), 470–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baldassare, M., & Wilson, G. (1995). More trouble in paradise – Urbanization and the decline in suburban quality-of-life ratings. Urban Affairs Review, 30, 690–708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boyer, R., & Savageau, D. (1981). Places rated almanac. Chicago: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
  4. Brotchie, J., Newton, P., Hall, P., & Nukamp, P. (1985). The future of urban form. London: Coom, Helm, and Nichols.Google Scholar
  5. Bruin, M. J., & Cook, C. C. (1997). Understanding constraints and residential satisfaction among low-income single-parent families. Environment and Behavior, 29, 532–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Campbell, A., Converse, P., & Rodgers, W. (1976). The quality of American life: Perceptions, evaluations and satisfaction. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Cicerchia, A. (1999). Measures of optimal centrality: indicators of city effect and urban overloading. Social Indicators Research, 46, 273–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Glaeser, E., Kolko, J., & Saiz, A. (2000). Consumer city (Working Paper 7790). Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  10. Grayson, L., & Young, K. (1994). Quality of life in cities. London: British Library.Google Scholar
  11. Greenberg, M., Schneider, D., & Choi, D. W. (1994). Neighborhood quality. Geographical Review, 84, 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jeffres, L. W., & Dobos, J. (1995). Separating peoples satisfaction with life and public perceptions of the quality-of-life in the environment. Social Indicators Research, 34, 181–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Joreskog, K., & Sorbom, D. (1996). LISREL8: User’s reference guide. Chicago: Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
  14. Kahneman, D. (1999). Objective happiness. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schawrz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Keeble, D. (1990). Small firms, new firms, and uneven regional development in the United Kingdom. Area, 22, 234–245.Google Scholar
  16. Kemp, D., Manicaros, M., Mullins, P., Simpson, R., Stimson, R., & Western, J. (1997). Urban metabolism: A framework for evaluating the viability, livability and sustainability of South East Queensland. Brisbane: The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.Google Scholar
  17. Lance, C. E., Mallard, A. G., & Michalos, A. C. (1995). Tests of the causal directions of global life facet satisfaction relationships. Social Indicators Research, 34, 69–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ley, D. (1996). The new middle class and the remaking of the central city. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Liaw, K. L., Frey, W. H., & Lin, J. P. (2002). Location of adult children as an attraction for black and white elderly primary migrants in the United States. Environment and Planning A, 34, 191–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lu, M. (1999). Determinants of residential satisfaction: Ordered logit vs. regression models. Growth and Change, 30, 264–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Marans, R. W. (2002). Detroit area study: Presentations and selected findings.
  22. Marans, R. W., & Rodgers, W. (1975). Toward an understanding of community satisfaction. In A. Hawley & V. Rock (Eds.), Metropolitan America in contemporary perspective. New York: Halsted.Google Scholar
  23. Michalos, A. C. (1985). Multiple discrepancies theory (MDT). Social Indicators Research, 16, 347–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Parkes, A., Kearns, A., & Atkinson, R. (2002). What makes people dissatisfied with their neighborhoods? Urban Studies, 39, 2413–2438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pierce, R. M. (1985). Rating America’s metropolitan areas. American Demographics, 7, 20–25.Google Scholar
  26. Rogerson, R. (1999). Quality of life and city competitiveness. Urban Studies, 36(5), 319–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schawrz, N., & Strack, F. (1999). Reports of subjective well-being: Judgmental processes and their methodological implications. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schawrz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  28. Sirgy, M. J., & Cornwell, T. (2002). How neighborhood features affect quality of life. Social Indicators Research, 59, 79–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sirgy, M. J., Rahtz, D., Cicic, M., & Underwood, R. (2000). A method for assessing residents’ satisfaction with community-based services: A quality-of-life perspective. Social Indicators Research, 49, 279–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Taylor, R. B. (1995). The impact of crime on communities. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 539, 28–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Turksever, A. N. E., & Atalik, G. (2001). Possibilities and limitations for the measurement of the quality of life in urban areas. Social Indicators Research, 53, 163–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Social Science ResearchThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN), Faculty of Architecture, Building and PlanningUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations