Social selectivity of residential choice with regard to green spaces and their impact on quality of life
The current housing shortage in many German conurbations has pushed housebuilding up the political agenda. In many places, this has led to conflicts with nature conservation and to citizen protests against increasing housing density, especially when it is achieved by developing green areas. At the same time, the dream of a "cottage in the country" remains widespread, and urban sprawl continues unabated through the designation of ever new residential developments "on the greenfield".
Life course research has long shown that changing housing needs when starting a family often result in relocations to the outskirts of large cities and to rural areas where construction and housing costs are comparatively low. The urban-rural migration of young families corresponds with the desire for a close-to-nature living environment for the children, including a private garden. The links between moving house and life course events, such as the birth of a child, as well as the role of individual and household characteristics, have been studied extensively. In Germany, however, there are only a few studies on the determinants of home ownership, and there is a general lack of studies on the influence of external factors, such as the characteristics of the residential environment, on the choice of residential location.
There is growing evidence that a green living environment improves quality of life. At the same time, properties in residential areas with old trees and large gardens, as well as in residential areas bordering parks and expanses of water are normally expensive. Given the current situation of rising housing costs, increasing traffic and high pressure to build, the question of environmental justice is becoming increasingly urgent. Only a few studies have investigated the class-specific impact of negative environmental conditions such as noise, air pollution and a lack of green spaces. In addition, studies systematically and prospectively investigating the realization of relocation motives aimed at environmental goods, such as green spaces, good air quality and quiet surroundings, are also lacking. However, this is the only way to clarify the relative importance of better environmental quality in residential choice, and who succeeds comparatively well or poorly in realizing their housing wishes.
The aim of this research project is to explain socially-selective residential choice, in particular with regard to green spaces, and to analyse the relevance of living close to green spaces for the urban population’s quality of life, differentiated according to social background. The project aims to make a significant contribution to the study of social inequality in housing choice, and thereby to the research on environmental justice. In addition, it aims to contribute to the explanation of socially-selective housing choices by extending the three-stage model of migration (Kalter, 1997; Kley, 2009; Kley, 2011). Furthermore, the project aims to link research on housing choice to research on the quality of life. This research agenda will be realized with a primary analysis of survey data from a two-wave panel in two German cities, enriched with geo-referenced structural data.
- Duration: 2020-2022
- Project lead: Prof. Dr. Stefanie Kley
- Sponsor: German Research Foundation (DFG)