Different neighborhoods suit different personalities and when these metrics align, people are measurably happier.
Using standard OCEAN categories for personality (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neurosis), British researchers found correlations between personality types and how happy people were with the neighborhood in which they lived in and around London.
Openness to new experiences, for example, correlated with more happiness in dense urban neighborhoods, which are teaming with people who lead different lifestyles. Agreeableness correlates more strongly with happiness in neighborhoods that have more families.
“That high scores in openness are clustered in central London also provides tentative evidence of adaptive clustering – people moving to neighbourhoods that suit them.”
It’s intuitive that different neighborhoods have different qualities and that people seek out those qualities if they like them. But while previous research focussed on neighborhood characteristics that influenced happiness, the new study breaks new ground by suggesting that our happiness is a composite of who we are and where we live.
Cities should take note of this research, investing in public infrastructure to benefit its population. As Enrique Peñalosa explains in his Big Think interview, neither land nor capital but quality of life is now the key ingredient in economic growth:
Read more at the British Psychological Society
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