Quality of life in the city, quality of urban life or well-being in the city: Conceptualization and case study

František Murgaš 1  and Michal Klobučník 2
  • 1 Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, Humanities and Education, Technical University of Liberec, 461 17, Liberec
  • 2 Department of Human Geography and Demography, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University, 842 15, Bratislava 4


Quality of life research responds to the growth of urbanization in the world by increasing the focus on the quality of urban life; however, the dominant applied research tends to be without conceptualization of the quality of urban life. The aim of this paper is to answer the question whether the quality of urban life exists as an original, separate part of the concept of quality of life, or whether only the quality of life or the well-being of a certain city exists. The authors argue that the quality of urban life exists as an original category of quality of life and their beliefs are based on the fact that it can be measured separately. The quality of urban life is holistic, co-existing with the quality of life. The city from the point of view of quality of life research is a place, and the quality of urban life is the satisfaction with life in a city and the quality of place in it. This approach is applied to the quality of urban life and its measurement in the city of Liberec. The results are implications for policy-makers and urbanists.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Andráško, I. (2006). Percepcia kvality života v mestských štvrtiach Bratislavy. Geografická Revue, 2(2), 227–240.

  • Andráško, I. (2007). Vnútorná štruktúra mesta z hľadiska kvality života. Dizertačná práca, Geografický ústav SAV, Bratislava.

  • Andráško, I., Lesová, P., Kunc, J. & Tonev P. (2013). Perception of quality of life in Brno housing estates. Hungarian Geographical Bulletin, 62(1), 90–101.

  • Andráško, I. (2016). Kvalita života v mestách. Brno: Masarykova univerzita.

  • Andrews, C.J. (2001). Analysing quality-of-place. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 28, 201−217. DOI: 10.1068/b2714.

  • Blatný, M. & Šolcová I. (2015). Well-being. In M. Blatný (Ed.), Personality and well-being across the life-span (pp. 20−59). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-43996-3.

  • Bradley, B. (2015). Well-being. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • Budowski, M., Schief, S. & Sieber M. (2016). Precariousness and quality of life – a qualitative perspective on quality of life of households in precarious prosperity in Switzerland and Spain. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 11, 1035−1058. DOI: 10.1007/s11482-015-9418-7.

  • de Vaus, D. (2002). Surveys in social research. London: Routledge.

  • Ferris, A. (2010). Approaches to improving the quality of life. How to enhance the quality of life. Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Frick, D. & Hoefert H.-W. (1986). The quality of urban life: Social, psychological, and physical conditions. Berlin: De Gruyter.

  • Heřmanová, E. (2012). Koncepty, teorie a měření kvality života. Praha: Sociologické nakladatelství.

  • Ira, V. (2005). Quality of life and urban space (case studies from city of Bratislava, Slovakia). Europa XXI, 12, 83–96.

  • Ira, V., Michálek, A. & Podolák P. (2005). Kvalita života a jej regionálna diferenciácia v Slovenskej republike. Životné Prostredie, 39(6), 290–294.

  • Ira, V. & Šuška P. (2006). Percepcia kvality života v mestskom prostredí (na príklade mesta Partizánske). Geografická Revue, 2, 309–332.

  • Ira, V. & Andráško I. (2008). Quality of life in the urban environment of Bratislava: two time-spatial perspectives. Geografický Časopis, 60, 149–178.

  • Ira, V. (2015). Petržalka a kvalita života jej obyvateľov (subjektívna dimenzia hodnotenia). Životné Prostredie, 49(2), 82−86.

  • Izakovičová, Z. (2005). Example of the elaboration of the strategy of sustainable development. Ekológia (Bratislava), 24(3), 277−291.

  • Izakovičová, Z., Mederly, P. & Petrovič F. (2017). Long-term land use changes driven by urbanisation and their environmental effects (example of Trnava City, Slovakia). Sustainability, 9(9), 1553. DOI: 10.3390/su9091553.

  • Kladivo, P. & Halás M. (2012). Quality of life in an urban environment: A typology of urban units of Olomouc. Quaestiones Geographicae, 31(2), 49–60. DOI: 10.2478/v10117-012-0018-4.

  • Landry, Ch. (2008). The creative city: A toolkit for urban innovators. New York: Earthscan.

  • Marans, R. & Kweon B.-S. (2011). The quality of life in metro Detroit at the beginning of the millennium. In R.W.

  • Marans & R. Stimson (Eds.), Investigating quality of urban life. Theory, methods, and empirical research (pp. 163−183). Dordrecht: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1742-8_7.

  • Marans, R.W. & Stimson R. (2011). Challenges for quality of urban life research. In R.W. Marans & R. Stimson (Eds.), Investigating quality of urban life. Theory, methods, and empirical research (pp. 437−444). Dordrecht: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1742-8_19.

  • Marans, R.W. (2012). Quality of urban life studies: An overview and implications for environment-behaviour research. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 35, 9−22. DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.02.058.

  • Marans, R.W. (2015). Quality of urban life & environmental sustainability studies: Future linkage opportunities. Habitat International, 45, 47−52. DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2014.06.019.

  • Michalos, A.C. & Robinson S.R. (2012). The good life: Eighth century to third century BCE. In K.C. Land, A.C. Michalos & M.J. Sirgy (Eds.), Handbook of social indicators and quality of life research (pp. 23−62). Dordrecht: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-2421-1.

  • Murgaš, F. & Böhm H. (2015). Does economic growth improve quality of life? In 15th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference SGEM 2015 (pp. 213−220). Albena, Bulgaria, 2014. Ecology, Economics, Education and Legislation. Conference Proceedings, vol. III.

  • Murgaš, F. (2016a). Quality of life in the municipality Liberec (in Czech). Liberec: Technická univerzita.

  • Murgaš, F. (2016b). Geographical conceptualization of quality of life. Ekológia (Bratislava), 35(4), 309–319. DOI: 10.1515/eko-2016-0025.

  • Murgaš, F. & Klobučník M. (2016a). Municipalities and regions as good places to live: Index of quality of life in the Czech Republic. Applied Research in Quality Life, 11(2), 553–570. DOI: 10.1007/s11482-014-9381-8.

  • Murgaš, F. & Klobučník M. (2016b). Does the quality of a place affect well-being? Ekológia (Bratislava), 35(3), 224–239. DOI: 10.1515/eko-2016-0018.

  • Nuvolati, G. (2014). Quality of urban life. In A.C. Michalos (Ed.), Encyclopedia of quality of life and well-being research (pp. 6848−6850). Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Pacione, M. (2003a). Urban environmental quality and human wellbeing – a social geographical perspective. Landsc. Urban Plann., 65, 19–30. DOI: 10.1016/S0169-2046(02)00234-7.

  • Pacione, M. (2003b). Quality of life research in urban geography. Urban Geography, 24(4), 314−339. DOI: 10.2747/0272-3638.24.4.314.

  • Peil, M. (1984). African urban life: Components of satisfaction in Sierra Leone. Social Indicators Research, 14(3), 363−384. DOI: 10.1007/BF00692990.

  • Podzimek, M. (2016). The crisis of effectiveness of education in postmodern age. In SGEM 2016 (pp. 1069−1074). Book 1 Psychology and Psychiatry, Sociology and Healthcare, Education. Conference Proceedings, vol. III. Albena, Bulgaria, August 24-30, 2016.

  • Psatha, E., Deffner, A. & Psycharis Y. (2011). Defining the quality of urban life: Which factors should be considered? European Regional Science Association, 51st European Congress Barcelona. Available http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa11/e110830aFinal00785.pdf

  • Rapley, M. (2008). Quality of life research. A critical introduction. London: SAGE.

  • Rezvani, M.R., Mansourian, H. & Sattari M.H. (2013). Evaluating quality of life in urban areas (Case study: Noorabad City, Iran). Social Indicators Research, 112(1), 203−220. DOI: 10.1007/s11205-012-0048-2.

  • Rišová, K. & Pouš R. (2018). Urban facilities in the quality of life research: a case study of Banská Bystrica city (Central Slovakia). Geografický Časopis, 70, 99−116.

  • Ruiz, L.Z. (2015). Qualitative studies of young people’s quality of life in urban and rural areas. In G. Tonon (Ed.), Qualitative studies in quality of life (pp. 149−178). Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Santos, L.D. & Martins I. (2007). Monitoring urban quality of life: the Porto Experience. Social Indicators Research, 80, 411–425. DOI: 10.1007/s11205-006-0002-2.

  • Sirgy, J.M. (2012). The psychology of quality of life. Hedonic well-being, life satisfaction, and eudaimonia. Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Stimson, R., McCrea, R. & Western J. (2011). The Brisbane South East Queensland region, Australia: Subjective assessment of quality of urban life and changes over time. In R.W. Marans & R. Stimson (Eds.), Investigating quality of urban life. Theory, methods, and empirical research (pp. 185−207). Dordrecht: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1742-8_8.

  • Tiran, J. (2016). Measuring urban quality of life: case study of Ljubljana. Acta Geographica Slovenica, 56(1), 57−73. DOI: 10.3986/ags.828.

  • Türkoğlu, H., Bölen, F., Baran, P.K. & Terzi F. (2011). Measuring quality life in Istanbul. In R.W. Marans & R. Stimson (Eds.), Investigating quality of urban life. Theory, methods, and empirical research (pp. 209−231). Dordrecht: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1742-8_9.

  • Veenhoven, R. (2013). Notions of the good life. In S.A. David, I. Boniwell & A. Conley Ayers (Eds.). The Oxford handbook of happiness (pp. 161−173). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Veenhoven, R. (2014). Quality of life, an overview. In A.C. Michalos (Ed.), Encyclopedia of quality of life and wellbeing research (pp. 5265−5269). Dordrecht: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5.

  • Włodarczyk, K. (2015). Quality of urban life in Poland. Journal of International Studies, 8(2), 155−163. DOI: 10.14254/2071-8330.2015/8-2/13.


Journal + Issues