Safety, predictable behaviour and ownership of living areas are among the factors that count when people choose where to live, according to a report on living conditions in cities from SINTEF Building Research. The researchers analysed the process of how people decide where to live, based on a sample of over 700 houses sold in a number of areas of central Oslo and its suburbs. Most people prefer to live on a quiet city street, but the report shows that proximity to the city centre is not what makes inner-city areas preferable to the suburbs.
People prefer a city street that is planted with trees, where there is a clear demarcation between public and private areas. In the suburbs, such “green” areas are not necessarily seen in a positive light. They are often poorly maintained since it is difficult to know whether it is the city authorities or the householder who owns them. The larger the green area in a suburb, the more the price of houses fell. Cultivated parks in the city centre functioned much better because they were obviously “public”.