This study explains the impact of urban design features on happiness of residents in the neighbourhoods of Rotterdam, on account of subjective and objective measures, and associations with health and social ties. Looking at necessity to understand factors affecting well-being as well as to establish relationship between ‘importance of place and concept of happiness’, the study has intended to recognize remarkable urban design features that help in promoting happiness. The concept of happiness used in the research is self-reported individual ‘overall happiness’ which is combination of ‘how well one feels generally’ (aspect) and ‘how favourable one compares with various standards of success’ (appraisal). Five urban design features- urban facilities, greenery, public space, transport nodes and mixed use were selected to analyse the relationship with self-reported happiness of the residents. Additionally, objective measures for selected urban design features were taken for all neighbourhoods of Rotterdam from municipality of Rotterdam that is a reliable source while subjective measures were collected only from two neighbourhoods- Cool and Terbregge, of Rotterdam because of constraints on time and resources. Selection of neighbourhood was done on the greater variance in urban design features of the two neighbourhoods. Cool is characterized as mixed land use and presence of physical infrastructure while Terbregge can be termed as sub-urban with abundance of natural elements. Ordered probit model was used to examine association of urban design features with self- reported happiness. Both, objective and subjective, measures of urban design features were analysed separately to find their significance with happiness. Additionally, Big seven factors for happiness given by Richard Layard were taken as control variables in the modelling. Research statistics showed significance of objective measures of greenery and land use mix with happiness while on account of subjective measures, availability of daily need shops, public spaces and land use mix were relevantly associated with happiness. However, presence of transport nodes in the neighbourhood demonstrated non-significance with happiness on account of both the measures. The research concluded the importance of urban design features for happiness. The way neighbourhoods are planned and built have relevant impact on well-being of the residents. However, on implications and applicability of specific features of urban design, it demands further investigations and suggests future guidelines for research because of the several limitations of the current study. The study findings also exhibited significance of both the measures of urban design for happiness. Happiness depends on perception as well as real qualities. Moreover, with the exhibition of importance of urban design for happiness, the research corroborated ongoing trend of inclusion of non-pecuniary measures, more specific physical environment, while assessing well-being.

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D’Acci, L. (Luca)
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Awadhesh Kumar, A. (Anamika). (2017, September). Impact of Urban Design features on Happiness in Rotterdam. Retrieved from