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“Quality of Life in European Cities” Survey: a snapshot of citizens’ anxieties and hopes in urban centres

Commission Européenne - MEMO/13/857   08/10/2013

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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 8 October 2013

“Quality of Life in European Cities” Survey: a snapshot of citizens’ anxieties and hopes in urban centres

The European Commission has today released the results of the 3-yearly Eurobarometer survey on the “Perception of Quality of Life in European Cities”. The survey was conducted in 79 cities of all EU Member States as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. 41,000 urban dwellers rated their satisfaction with various aspects of urban life, in particular public services.

The survey found:

  1. As in 2009, healthcare, employment, education and training are the issues most people want their cities to deal with above all.

  2. The survey suggests citizens in most European cities feel finding a job is hard. Only in 9 cities did a majority of citizens say it is easy to find employment. Compared with 2009 this job insecurity has increased significantly, though in some cities the outlook has become more positive.

  3. In 50 cities, at least one person in two disagrees that it is easy to find good housing at a reasonable price.

  4. The survey also records a low satisfaction with schools and educational institutions in many capitals.

  5. On a more positive note the survey finds that in all but 5 of the cities surveyed, a majority of the respondents agree with the statement that the presence of foreigners is good for the city and that foreigners are well integrated. 

  6. There are wide disparities between cities on how people assess the quality of public transport, health care services, or their personal financial situation.

  7. High satisfaction with public spaces, green areas, cleanliness and feeling safe seems closely linked with the overall satisfaction felt by people about in their city. When asked if they are "satisfied" living in their own cities, a majority - at least 80% in 71 cities - said they were. 

  8. The survey also suggests that more people than in previous surveys think their cities are active when it comes to fighting climate change. This is particularly the case in capital cities.

The "Quality of Life in European Cities" survey will be formally launched later today during OPEN DAYS 2013 in Brussels - a four-day event focusing on the EU's future regional and urban policy. 

Speaking ahead of the event European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn said, "This survey provides a useful snapshot of how Europeans feel about the cities that they live in. It reminds us of the many elements that contribute to a sense of wellbeing and a good quality of life in our urban environments. I hope the results will inspire and guide policymakers, urban planners and civil society to address urban problems through a more holistic and integrated manner as we are now encouraging in the next period of Regional and Urban Policy for 2014-2020."

EU Regional and Urban Policy will give better support to cities in 2014-2020. Currently nearly 40% of the European Regional Development Fund is invested in cities. Depending on the priorities of Member States, this is expected to grow. On top of this, in the next period EU countries should promote investments that combine different kinds of actions to tackle the particular economic, environmental, climate and social challenges of urban areas. At least 5% should be set aside by Member States for this type of integrated approach. 

Background:

Since 1973, the Commission has been monitoring the evolution of public opinion in the Member States on a wide range of topics. For this survey, 41 000 people have been interviewed in 79 cities. Via a range of questions, citizens were asked to express their views on the various dimensions of urban life. How do they assess the quality of services such as public transport, health care, education, cultural and sport facilities? Do they consider foreigners as an asset for their city? How do they perceive job availability or affordable housing in their cities? Are people satisfied with the place they live, the life they lead, or the financial situation of their household?

More information:

  1. ’Quality of life in cities – Perception survey in 79 European cities

  2. "Survey on perception of quality of life in 75 European cities" in 2009

  3. "Survey on perception of quality of life in 75 European cities" in 2007

  4. Eurobarometer Surveys

  5. Open Days 2013 - #euopendays

  6. Twitter: @EU_Regional - @JHahnEU


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