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Journal article
The greener, the happier? The effect of urban land use on residential well-being
Jens Kolbe, Christian Krekel and Henry Wustermann January 2016
Paper No' :

Tags: abandoned areas; european urban atlas; forests; german socio-economic panel; green urban areas; life satisfaction; monetary valuation; spatial analysis; urban land use; waters

We investigate the effect of urban land use on residential well-being in major German cities, using panel data from the German Socio-Economic Panel and cross-section data from the European Urban Atlas. We reduce concerns about endogeneity by employing fixed-effects (within) estimators, with individual and city of residence fixed effects, while controlling for a rich set of observables. The results show that access to green urban areas, such as gardens and parks, is positively associated with, whereas access to abandoned areas, such as waste or leftover land, is negatively associated with life satisfaction. The effects are strongest for residents who are older, accounting for up to a third of the size of the effect of being unemployed on life satisfaction. We calculate the marginal willingness-to-pay of residents in order to have access to green urban and abandoned areas in their surroundings, as well as the life-satisfaction maximising amounts of them. Finally, we provide a policy case study, while discussing limitations and avenues for future research. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.