Does compact city shape matter to residents' happiness?

This paper investigates the impact of city shape variation on residents' happiness in Chinese cities. The authors first measure the city shape index of Chinese cities between 2000 and 2015 using matched data from the European Space Agency Global Land Cover dataset and the Chinese administrative map to delineate the changes in city shape in China's urbanization. Then they use a reduced-form estimation strategy to examine the causality between city shape variation and urban residents' happiness using their city shape dataset and the microsurvey data of CHIP (Chinese Household Income Project). The authors find that city shape exerts a negative influence on the happiness of urban residents. Such an effect is more pronounced in large cities. However, well-developed public transportation infrastructure can mitigate the negative impact of a non-compact city shape. Turning to the mechanism, commute time to the workplace and amenities is the main channel through which city shape works. The authors find that bad shape significantly increases the commute time between residential, workplace, and commercial amenities and therefore makes urban residents unhappy.


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  • Accession Number: 01894034
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 22 2023 9:08AM