Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Urban Economies
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Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Urban Economies

Edited by Peter Karl Kresl and Jaime Sobrino

In this timely Handbook, seventeen renowned contributors from Asia, the Americas and Europe provide chapters that deal with some of the most intriguing and important aspects of research methodologies on cities and urban economies.
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Chapter 4: Analysis of urban well-being and its influencing factors in the spatial distribution in China

Ni Pengfei, Qingbin Li and Chao Li


It can be said with confidence that, whether with the individual or with the nation, well-being is the ultimate goal of life and self-esteem. With the transition from a low-income country to a middle-income country, China now enters into a key stage of transformation in its economy and society. “Are we happy?” The whole nation never ceases asking this question. The phrases “well-being”, “happiness” and “well-being index” have become the most popular words heard nowadays. Therefore, whether at the national level or the local level, the overarching theme of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, crafted to guide the country’s 2011–2015 development, emphasizes the shift in focus from an economic hard target (GDP growth) to the soft target “make people happier”. As a consequence, research on “are you happy” and “what makes people happy” has become the focus of the whole society as well. While it is not uncommon to raise these questions, giving the acceptable answers is not that easy, since this requires comprehensive research from multiple aspects. To answer these questions, this chapter takes the “city” as the object of analysis. The reason lies, firstly, in the acceleration of urbanization. According to the sixth National Population Census launched at midnight on 1 November 2010, the urbanization rate in China has already achieved 49.68 percent, and the progress of urbanization will be accelerated in the following 20 years.

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