Despite anecdotal reports that people want to move out of cities and into more rural spaces, a new Place Satisfaction Index has revealed that city dwellers are the most satisfied with where they live.
New research from Demos, commissioned by Legal & General, maps people’s satisfaction with their local areas across the country. The Place Satisfaction Index captures how happy people are by measuring their priorities against how they rate provision, including housing, transport, interest access and shopping.
According to the findings, detailed in the Everyday Places report, locations in London, Scotland, the West Midlands and the North of England rate the highest on the Index.
These more built up commuter and ‘affluent’ towns see the highest Place Satisfaction, with ‘good local shops’ topping the list of local priorities whereas satisfaction decreases as locations become more rural, with lack of quality transport a particular problem.
The average Place Satisfaction Index value for the entire population of Great Britain was +26 on a scale of -100 to +100.
A government resource?
The report recommends a number of measures that would help the government regenerate local areas, including recognising the important role of shops in building a sense of ‘place’ and rethinking the role of suburbs for 21st century living. Demos is also calling on the government to adopt a similar place satisfaction index to inform policy making.
Kitty Ussher, Chief Economic Advisor at Demos and co-author of the report, said: “The places we live shape so much of what we do and how we live our lives, even more so during the last year. But up until now, it’s often been unclear how people’s priorities compare to their views on the quality of provision in their local area.
“The Place Satisfaction Index shows that some locations are better than others in meeting people’s routine needs and priorities. In particular it shows the importance of good quality shops and access to fresh air and nature in our daily lives. We also unearth, as part of this, that the suburbs built for twentieth-century living may no longer be providing what people now say they want. Additionally, for some, inadequate public transport contributes to a sense of being ‘stuck’ in a place that doesn’t work for them.
“As the Government considers how best to deploy the £4bn levelling-up fund in England, it should take notice of these results and use our granular location-based data to help create stronger locations across the country in support of everyday British life.”
Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General, added: “COVID-19 has driven major change to people’s lives and global economies. Our health, happiness and priorities around what we need from our communities have been challenged. To ensure inequality is not exacerbated; we need insight at a national, regional and local level.
“Much like our recent Rebuilding Britain Index, this work is another important piece of a complex jigsaw which helps us understand how people would like to see their communities – and especially their built environment and amenities – develop in future.”