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Linking the quality of public spaces to quality of life

Helen Beck (CABE, London, UK)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 9 October 2009




The purpose of this paper is to present how high quality public spaces contribute positively to people's quality of life. However, sources of credible evidence in support of this statement are surprisingly scarce. One impact is that it can be frustratingly difficult to quantify links between investment in the public realm and improvements to people's quality of life.


CABE Space, the government's national advisor on well‐designed, planned and maintained urban public spaces, fund a scoping study which seeks to determine and understand useful correlative relationships between existing data on quality of life and existing data on the quality of public space. The researchers analyse a total of 34 national datasets to ascertain what they can tell us about how the quality of public spaces affects people's quality of life.


Numerous small scale research studies have examined the benefits of high quality public spaces in terms of their economic, social and environmental value. However, a national evidence base to inform policy agendas relating to well‐being and liveability is lacking.

Research limitations/implications

Better understanding is needed to maximise the benefits of provision for individuals and the areas that they live in, especially because the poorest areas suffer from the poorest quality of environments.


Linking the quality of public spaces and the quality of life is a complex and multifaceted area that suffers from a meagre evidence base. This research aims to further this area of research and is original in its national scale of analysis.



Beck, H. (2009), "Linking the quality of public spaces to quality of life", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 240-248.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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