Environmental quality in residential areas : a social survey approach to improvement priorities

Cane, Simon (1977). Environmental quality in residential areas : a social survey approach to improvement priorities. PHD thesis, Aston University.


The research is concerned with the measurement of residents' evaluations of the environmental quality of residential areas. The research reflects the increased attention being given to residents' values in planning decisions affecting the residential environment. The work was undertaken in co-operation with a local authority which was in the process of revising its housing strategy, and in particular the priorities for improvement action. The study critically examines the existing evidence on environmental values and their relationship to the environment and points to a number of methodological and conceptual deficiencies. The research strategy developed on the basis of the research review was constrained by the need to keep any survey methods simple so that they could easily be repeated, when necessary, by the sponsoring authority. A basic perception model was assumed, and a social survey carried out to measure residents' responses to different environmental conditions. The data was only assumed to have ordinal properties, necessitating the extensive use of non-parametric statistics. Residents' expressions of satisfaction with the component elements of the environment (ranging from convenience to upkeep and privacy) were successfully related to 'objective' measures of the environment. However the survey evidence did not justify the use of the 'objective' variables as environmental standards. A method of using the social survey data directly as an aid to decision-making is discussed. Alternative models of the derivation of overall satisfaction with the environment are tested, and the values implied by the additive model compared with residents' preferences as measured directly in the survey. Residents' overall satisfactions with the residential environment were most closely related to their satisfactions with the "Appearance" and the "Reputation" of their areas. By contrast the most important directly measured preference was "Friendliness of area". The differences point to the need to define concepts used in social research clearly in operational terms, and to take care in the use of values 'measured' by different methods.

Divisions: Life & Health Sciences
Additional Information: Department: Architectural Planning and Urban Studies This thesis is formed of 2 volumes, abstract available on Index to Thesis. If you have discovered material in Aston Research Explorer which is unlawful e.g. breaches copyright, (either yours or that of a third party) or any other law, including but not limited to those relating to patent, trademark, confidentiality, data protection, obscenity, defamation, libel, then please read our Takedown policy and contact the service immediately (openaccess@aston.ac.uk)
Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: residential,environment,perception,social survey
Completed Date: 1977-05
Authors: Cane, Simon

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