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Quality of life

Urban life has become critically important in a time with high deals of growing up cities and metropolitan areas which includes places where people live, work, and play (Maran, 2012: 21). Nowadays cities are home to more than half of the world’s population (Ballas, 2013: 539), Furthermore, “two out of every three people born during the next 30 years is likely to live in cities” (Marans, 2011: 9). Therefor urban life is encountering many issues caused by populations in the cities. One of the most important problems caused by living in the cities is the quality of urban life, which became as a crucial part of many urban studies. This research is going to focus on the quality of urban life by focusing on a comparative approach between two cities as the cases of the study. One is Vienna as one of the most livable city in the world (Mercer, 2018) and the other one is Tehran as a third world city which gain the lowest rate in the most international ranking of livability for a city (Ibid) .

This study seeks to make a comparison between these two cities by using a conceptual Framework which is based on objective indicators of quality of urban life assessment. QOUL employing quantitative analytic techniques, study will provide insight into factors and causes as well as effects of different dimensions and interrelationships of various characteristics as well as netted correlations between four main features of quality of urban life as Health, Economic, social and environmental which will evaluate in this study.

Statement of the problem

In the world today, as Maran mentioned; growing of the cities confronting national and local governmental officials with different challenges (Marans, 2015). As a result of this growth, governments should meet the changing needs of urban inhabitants keep up with the needs of increasing populations by developing foundations (Marans, 2015). Measuring and studying the quality of urban life is an essential area of research to enable planners and policy makers amplify their capabilities and to help them make their challenges less annoying.

By the fact that focus of this study will be based on a comparative approach between two cities as one of them placed in Europe and the other one known as a city in the Middle East and “it is impossible to divorce expressions of satisfaction from their context” (Felce & Perry”,1995: 56)”,which is an important concept in quality of life assessment that mostly depends on subjective perception of one’s individual, it should be mentioned that as these two cities are in different contexts, and given that QOUL is one of the multi-dimensional concept which can understand in two different aspects as subjective and objective, we need to use the most objective indexes to make this comparison applicable, as we have the possibility of cultural differences by the meaning of subjective quality of life.

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As Borthwick-Duffy (1992) discussed there are three different types of QOL exists: “(a) quality of life defined as the quality of one’s life conditions, (b) quality of life defined as one’s satisfaction with life conditions, and (c) quality of life defined as a combination of both life conditions and satisfaction”. In this research the quality of life will be addressed as the sum of a range of objectively measurable life conditions. It is possible to assume that subjective dimension of quality of life which mostly known as the life satisfaction can be the result of QOUL.

Regarding that reaching to a common valid definition and measurable operationalized framework of the quality of life construct is a central goal. Therefore, here we supposed that life conditions caused the quality of urban life.

Importantly, emphasizes of the research will be on the situation of both cities quality of urban life which is of a great value in describing present status to explore, describe and identify the present condition according to the indicators of conceptual framework.

By comparing current position to the total quality of urban life, this research area will help to move the field forward. Given that most of the researches that has done before were mostly focused on comparative studies based on European cities and there isn’t significant data available about other cities in another part of the world, therefore this study can be innovative in this way and can cause more comparative studies not only among European cities but also across different countries to open a new way of research that is a gap in many European studies. As Batty mentioned there is a significant possibility to have a new major as the science of cities (Batty, 2012).

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Since This study aims to know the quality of life in Vienna and Tehran to provide a comparative examination of life quality, it can enable us to show real problems and priorities of many crucial social problems such as poverty, inequality, exclusion, spatial segregation, … which can be caused by urban quality of life.

Given that a crucial part of all studies is the suitable selection of measurable and supplementary questions to have a useful and advantages assessment of the problem (Cella and Tulsky, 1990), this first step in this project provide an empirically derived criterion to show the quality of urban life for both cities.

Indeed, a conceptual framework of quality of life should be designed as the common basis of the study. By using a unified criterion, it is possible to have two different models based on each city’s scores according to indicators. It will be possible to compare two cities on the basis of the framework of quality of urban life assessment which had conceptualized by common points.

This study will focus on 4 main objective domains of QOUL as environmental, economic, social and health. As the Concept of “life quality” is a multi-dimensional fact, only in the aggregate sets of characteristics can be evaluated (Glebova & Khabibrahmanova, 2014: 238). Table below shows the indicator in different domains and subdomains which will use in the research.

Table (1): Dimensions and Indicators of Quality of Urban Life

Research Dimensions Indicators Source

Environmental Features Ambient Environment Atmosphere/Peace and Quiet Hart et al, 1989; PCC”,1990; Cardinal and Adin, 2004

Pollution/ Air Quality Burnley, 1988; PCC, 1990; Population Crisis Committee, 1990

Green Space Cardinal and Adin, 2004

Urban Amenities Traffic flow Hart et al, 1989; Population Crisis Committee 1990

Public Transport Efficiency and Availability Insch & Florek, 2010; Türksever & Atalik, 2001

Urban Land Use Maran, 2011

Sports grounds and facilities Insch & Florek, 2010; Türksever & Atalik, 2001

Recreation

Commercial space Hart et al, 1989

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Cost of living Rogerso n et al., 1988

Economic features Housing Market and Housing Conditions Türksever & Atalik, 2001; Cardinal and Adin, 2004; Smith, 1973; Hart et al, 1989; PCC, 1990

Wage/Income Friedman, 1997

Currency Exchange Mercer, 2018

Health Features Health Care/ Public Health/Medical care Population Crisis Committee, 1990; Smith, 1973; PCC, 1990

Health Services/Facilities Maran, 2011

Life Expectancy/Longevity UNDP, 1995

Social Features Education Schneider, 1976; Population Crisis Committee, 1990; Cardinal and Adin, 2004; Smith, 1973; Rogerso n et al., 1989

Cultural Resources Maran, 2011

Crime/Public Safety Insch& Florek, 2010; Parkes et al., 2002; Smith et al., 1996; Schneider, 1976; Cardinal and Adin 2004

Schools Facilities Mercer, 2018

Research Questions

To address the gap in the literature this study will ask the following research questions:

1- What is the present condition of quality of urban life in Tehran?

2- What is the present condition of quality of urban life in Vienna?

3- What are significant differences in the quality of life between two cities?

4- What are the relations, effects and influences between indicators of QOUL? What would be the impacts?

5- What are the strength and weakness points of Tehran’s quality of urban life in comparison with Vienna?

6- What kinds of social problems can be caused as the result of QOUL in the mentioned cities?

Research Methodology

This research will employ quantitative methodology on the basis of a comparison assessment to explore the quality of life trends in two cases of the study in a precise way. Unit of analysis will be the cities. Vienna and Tehran to monitor QOUL through a set of objective indicators which include 4 main domains included; environmental, economic, social and health. Each of them divided into subdomains available on figure (2). Most of the data will come from existing data sources from reliable national and governmental resources. Analysis will be based on an agent-based model according to secondary data and multilevel model of the study. Different examination should be used to show the correlations and unintended effects as well as the main intended effects to extract new impacts from data analyzing step.

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