A survey of applications of the CA on Urban Quality of Life

Fancello, Giovanna (2011). "A survey of applications of the CA on Urban Quality of Life" Paper presented at the 8th annual conference of the HDCA, 6-8 September 2011, the Hague, the Netherlands.

This is a preliminary survey paper on recent studies of application of the capability approach on the evaluation of the quality of life related to urban and territorial environment. The survey aims at identifying theoretical, methodological and operational differences among different proposals and studies. The particular focus of the comparative exercise is to explore the degree and the ways in which different methodological and operational approaches may be effective to produce results and to reveal and shed light on eminently urban and territorial factors of human capabilities. The capability approach provides an useful theoretical framework for evaluating urban and territorial quality of life intended as the quality determined by distinctively urban and territorial components and factors of human capabilities, maybe only partially and fuzzily isolable from other relevant factors. The survey analyses both case study and pilot experimental applications, as well as attempts to undertake more systematic comparative studies among cities and territories. The particular requisites used for selecting the relevant studies were the following:(1)the measurement of the urban and territorial QoL need to be applied to developed countries; (2)the study must make explicit reference or be in the spirit of to the capability approach; (3)the study must present experimental results, obtained through application to specific case studies or to comparisons among cities. One of the main concerns discussed in the paper is the explore how each study is methodological and theoretically grounded on the capability approach. This meant to investigate if and how many studies that affirm to be based on the capability approach, are indeed coherent with the capability approach, and in particular how the concept of capability has been operationalised and put to work to effectively reveal the relevant capabilities, and not only functionings.
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