(February 2012) Urban demographic dynamics and quality of life: challenges on many scales
This article explores the development of cities and quality of city life on the global scale, namely taking examples from all regions, as well as investigating the accompanying demographic changes that are often best recorded on the national level. It is suggested that also the media-popular livability and ranking outcomes of cities can be related to to long-term demographic development. How did certain cities develop to be such heavens for good quality of life? Why do whole regions compete and differ so strongly in terms of the quality of urban living they provide? It is suggested that the demographic transition multiplier (DTM), as a powerful predictor of national population trends, can be used in the urban context, and helps to explain the vast differences in quality of city living today as well as propose trends to come.
Population trends have inevitable consequences on city planning and development, and thus a measurable effect on the livability of our cities. Various environmental factors can be regarded as contributing to our subjective well-being in the city, whilst population growth inserts pressure on the very same factors. A feedback loop is created in population-environment interactions in the urban realm that is poorly quantified nor understood to this date. In addition to being compact, green and sustainable, the most livable cities that depict 'smart growth' or 'smart shrinkage' tend to share the greater long-term trends in demographic development.