As part of new major research, we are launching a Place Satisfaction Index, offering key insights to the Government as it begins to tackle regional inequality.
The new research, which surveyed a nationally representative poll of 20,000 adults, captures how satisfied people are with their local areas by measuring people’s priorities against how they rate actual provision, on issues linked to the practical necessities of daily life such as housing, transport, internet access and shopping.
The report, commissioned by Legal & General, has found that places in London, Scotland, the West Midlands and the North of England rate the highest on the Index as having the country’s most satisfied residents, while eastern coastal areas of England, and South West Wales, come out at the bottom.
Despite COVID-19 driving a stated desire for access to green space and nature, more built up commuter and ‘affluent’ towns see the highest Place Satisfaction, with ‘good local shops’ topping the list of local priorities. Rural areas, on the other hand, typically see poorer satisfaction, with lack of quality transport a particular problem.
We are recommending a number of measures that would help the Government regenerate local areas, including recognising the important role of shops in building a sense of ‘place’ and rethinking the role of suburbs for 21st century living. We are also calling on the Government to adopt a similar approach to measure people’s satisfaction of the places they live, in order to inform policy making in this area.
Kitty Ussher, Chief Economic Advisor at Demos and co-author of the report, said:
“The places we live shape so much of what we do and how we live our lives, even more so during the last year. But up until now, it’s often been unclear how people’s priorities compare to their views on the quality of provision in their local area. The Place Satisfaction Index that lies at the heart of this research is an innovative public policy experiment where we not only see this for the first time, but can explore how it differs across so many different places across the country.
“The Index shows that some locations are better than others in meeting people’s routine needs and priorities. In particular it shows the importance of good quality shops and access to fresh air and nature in our daily lives. We also unearth, as part of this, that the suburbs built for twentieth-century living may no longer be providing what people now say they want. Additionally, for some, inadequate public transport contributes to a sense of being ‘stuck’ in a place that doesn’t work for them.
“As the Government considers how best to deploy the £4bn levelling-up fund in England, it should take notice of these results and use our granular location-based data to help create stronger locations across the country in support of everyday British life.”