International Review for Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development
Online ISSN : 2187-3666
ISSN-L : 2187-3666
Main Section
Comparing Happiness Determinants for Urban Residents
A Partial Least Squares Regression Model
Tae-Hyoung Tommy Gim
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2021 Volume 9 Issue 2 Pages 24-40


Research on happiness determinants began in the 1970s in such fields as psychology and economics. While they tended to focus on individual variables, they have recently expanded to the built environment. Regarding the built environment, transportation systems—as opposed to land use—were mostly studied in relation to the transient happiness of satisfaction from one trip rather than overall happiness based on life satisfaction. By controlling for well-researched happiness determinants (i.e., the individual’s psychological and economic variables), this study sought to explore how the built environment, especially transportation system variables, affect overall happiness. To this aim, we used a partial least squares regression model with a total of 61 research variables and tested it using data from a 2018 Seoul survey (n = 5,515 household heads). Through using the 2018 data, we could evaluate the environment for cyclists and pedestrians, and taxi, subway, and bus users. Based on the analytical results, this study concludes that to promote happiness, the government would do well to implement marketing/branding strategies to heighten the identity of, and attachment for, the city (i.e., to increase the pride its citizens feel in calling it their home), and to improve transportation infrastructure for better mobility and accessibility (of motorized—rather than nonmotorized—transportation, particularly taxis and buses). Between nonmotorized transport methods, the pedestrian environment is more important in urban centers than in residential neighborhoods, and the cycling environment is largely considered less significant. These overall happiness-related findings on transportation systems stand in contrast to those from studies on transient happiness from a single trip.

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