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How does the neighborhood affect your quality of life?

Ana Llopis Alvarez defended her thesis December 2nd. She has investigated how living conditions affect how well we are doing. And why is it that immigrants generally experience a poorer quality of life than Norwegians, even though they live in the same neighborhood?

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Ana Llopis Alvarez. Photo: Mari Løvås

The housing circumstances and neighbourhood aspects (residential conditions) can influence our quality of life (QoL). Residential conditions are considered a significant indicator of quality of life and well-being. Identifying the residential conditions under which the population in Norway lives is a concept worth of attention due to its position on worldwide quality of life indexes. More specifically, and due to the Norwegian migrant situation, the interest not only relies on how residential conditions influences quality of life, but if this impact is different among the local and immigrant population. The study findings affirm that specific housing and neighborhood conditions can improve or decrease perceived QoL. The main finding of this research is that the immigrant population lives under worse residential conditions than Norwegians do, even in the same neighborhood. They are less satisfied with their residence, their neighborhood conditions and their QoL in general.

This study is focused on urban, social and environmental issues where a compound of different methodologies is applied: spatial analysis, questionnaires, desktop research, GIS (geographical information systems) and statistical analysis. More specifically, this study aims to incorporate the spatial representation into GIS as a substantial methodology adapted to the new technologies and fundamental for today-society’s development, needs and challenges. Objective and subjective information has been gathered in order to obtain a complete framework of the research areas, together with participant’s satisfaction with certain dimensions, i.e. physical, mobility and social. Map-based questionnaires, paper-based and digital, have been created for this study as a tool for gathering participants’ (personal) information, as well as perception and satisfaction with urban, social and environmental aspects. GIS software has been used to link participant’s collected information to specific urban areas, connecting spatial characteristics of the neighbourhoods to participant’s satisfaction with them.

Results are expected to help Norwegian authorities respond to new developments and concerns, to provide a setting where governments can compare policy experiences, seek answers to demographic and urban problems, identify good practice within urban domains and work to co-ordinate domestic and international policies.

Ana Llopis Alvarez is 30 years old. She has lived in Stavanger since 2011, but is originally from Spain. She has studied architecture, at UPV (Polytechnic University of Valencia). She also has a Master's degree in Urban Planning from University of Stavanger.

Alvarez defended her thesis December 2nd 2020.