Quality of urban life & environmental sustainability studies: Future linkage opportunities

Abstract Throughout much of the world, cities are growing at an unprecedented rate presenting major challenges for national and local governmental officials. Not only must they cope with growing populations and an expanding infrastructure to accommodate growth, governments have to satisfy the changing needs of their existing populations. The challenge is particularly formidable for policy makers and planners. Research that addresses the quality of life (QOL) of urban residents can be helpful in meeting this challenge. In particular, research that measures and monitors the quality of urban life (QOUL) can inform policy makers and planners. Such research can also examine the culture of sustainability among urban residents, an increasingly important concept in the planning and management of cities. This paper offers operational definitions of QOL and QOUL. It then briefly reviews QOUL studies conducted in selected world cities during the past decade. Next, several types of measures are described as well as the conceptual models used to test relationships between the measures. Finally, measures covering the culture of sustainability among urban residents are suggested as part of QOUL studies. Such studies can be instrumental in the development of City Prosperity Indexes.