"Quality of Life"- A Term With Lots of Meanings

MLewyn's picture

I am in the middle of Jeff Speck's Walkable City, and noticed his statement that walkable cities "provide a better quality of life." (p. 70).  But when I lived in car-oriented cities like Jacksonville and Atlanta, I talked to more than one ex-northerner who said they preferred the "quality of life" of the suburbs where they lived.  Clearly, not everyone understands this term the same way.

My sense from talking to these northern expatriates is that to them, "quality of life" means the ability to afford a single-family house.  By contrast, to Speck "quality of life" means something very different- as far as I can tell, some mix of interesting street life and overall walkability.

But I think Speck and my suburban friends would probably agree that northern suburbs are an unhappy median: not walkable enough for Speck's version of quality of life, not cheap enough for southerners' version.

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