How Do Urban Neighbourhoods Impact Parents’ Subjective Well-being?
Introduction: In this paper, parents’ well-being is examined from their subjective point of view of their living experiences in a certain residential area. The subjective viewpoint is relevant as the focus of the research is interlinked with residential areas.
Aims: The research aims to determine what meaning parents ascribe to their residential area (suburb or city centre) as a space for physical, social and psychological well-being. It also aims to discover whether there are qualitative differences between the given meanings of parents living in different areas.
Methods: The data were acquired through semi-structured interviews with parents who live in a suburb or the city centre of Lahti, Finland. Data analysis was conducted using abductive thematic analysis.
Results: The results revealed that physical, social and psychological spaces were experienced differently depending on the residential area in question. In parents’ narration about the physical space, in both areas the basic services were defined as valuable for well-being. Parents living in the suburb experienced the natural environment as an important source of well-being. When talking about the social space, the parents living in the suburb emphasised social networks and the importance of building well-being bridges in their neighbourhood, unlike the city dwellers. The psychological space was connected to the reputation and security of the residential area. An important well-being factor for all parents was the well-being of their children, with an emphasis on the safety of the residential area.
Discussion: Subjective assessments of neighbourhood attributes are more important in explaining neighbourhood satisfaction than any perceived reputation. Parents’ ways of thinking and acting in certain residential areas appear to tie in with the social capital that forms social resources. Almost all parents who participated in this research estimated their well-being as rather high, irrespective of their socioeconomic status, but the city centre residents rated their well-being even higher.
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