The Impacts of Social and Physical Context on Neighbourhood Satisfaction in the Suburbs
Authors: Abass, Zainab; Tucker, Richard
Neighbourhood satisfaction is a key contributor to psychological wellbeing and sustainable
community. This paper asks whether physical built environment characteristics or social factors have the greater impacts on satisfaction with residential suburban neighbourhoods. Quantitative analyses via a survey of 247 residents living in three Australian suburbs were conducted. First, Pearson correlations was used to investigate the relationship between perceived neighbourhood satisfaction and a number of independent social and physical neighbourhood design variables. The results showed that neighbourhood satisfaction is strongly associated with physical design characteristics, even allowing for the interaction of sociodemographic variables. Hierarchical multiple regression was then conducted to examine the extent to which five groups of physical characteristics impacted neighbourhood satisfaction: (1) street layout, (2) pedestrian environment, (3) neighbourhood connectivity, (4) public space provision, and (5) dwelling form when socioeconomic factors are controlled for. Physical built environment characteristics such as provision of open spaces, street type and trees coverage were more significant predictors of residents’ satisfaction than socio‐demographic factors (income, length of residency and number of household members). This indicates that well designed neighbourhoods can be more attractive for residents. The findings also suggest that satisfaction associated with the social and physical needs of residents can be critical influences that planners and decision makers need to consider when designing for sustainable
communities in contemporary suburban contexts.