Abstract for: Understanding Urban Quality of Life and Sustainability: Model Development and Validation

This paper expands upon a qualitative study done by Beck and Stave (2011) investigating how to understand the dynamics underlying urban quality of life and sustainability. In the original study, we examined the factors and feedbacks that governed migration in and out of urban areas. Quality of life (QOL) was assumed to be the short term motivator behind migration, while sustainability determined the long term livability of a city. Past studies on these topics all have a common thread: sustainability and QOL both pertain to people’s relationship to capital. In this study, we illustrate how these forms of capital interact with a city’s population to create in migration and out migration behavior based on the attractiveness of its capital stocks. We monitor the accumulation of different forms of capital to evaluate sustainability and use the distribution of capital as proxy for quality of life. Finally, we provide our experience in validating the model using historic population trends of three American cites.