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The ideal neighborhood? One doesn't exist, but there are common points - ThinkCo's latest report

Wiktor Bochenek
19 of October '22

Downtowns, apartment blocks or single-family neighborhoods? Can we talk about a golden mean, defining what a truly happy neighborhood is? Again, analysts from ThinkCo looked at this question.

Each of us has our own idea of the ideal neighborhood we would like to live in. Is there a single golden solution worth pursuing? In the next report in the "Happy Home" series compiled by ThinkCo in cooperation with Otodom, they decided to take a look at three neighborhoods where residents' happiness levels were among the highest in the survey.

What distinguishes these three neighborhoods? Completely different buildings and character. It's worth seeing what determines happiness in the context of the neighborhoods.

We remind you of the articles on the research conducted by ThinkCo in its "Happy Home" series:

See: Where are the best places to live in Poland? A report that shows the best places to live

See: How do Poles feel about their neighborhoods? ThinkCo surveyed our feelings

Zestawienie trzech najszczęśliwszych dzielnic z każdej kategorii

A summary of the three happiest neighborhoods in each category

© ThinkCo

happy downtowns?

Citycenters are not only their historical nuclei, but further the neighborhoods where life functions. Despite the fact that centers are often associated with depopulated spaces from which the exodus of people has occurred with the development of tourism or other factors, they still remain neighborhoods where life happens.

Architektura okresu modernizmu to jeden z elementów definiujących śródmiejski charakter Gdyni

Architecture of the modernism period is one of the elements defining Gdynia's downtown character

photo: Michal Jaworski, © CC BY-SA 3.0

In this ranking, Gdynia ' s downtown is the best - on a scale of 1 to 5 (for a broader discussion of the scale, see the first report in this series - see here), the average rating for the district is 4.10, compared to 3.59 for the capital, 3.39 for Katowice and 3.26 for Bydgoszcz.

The center of Gdynia, dating back to the modernism period, primarily appreciates access to shopping, good transportation, recreation and sports venues. Residents of the district are also proud of their city's history, as evidenced by Gdynia's efforts to have the historic downtown complex inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Negative impacts, however, include safety and the state of the environment.

Positive elements mentioned by district residents - Downtown Gdynia

Positive elements mentioned by district residents - Downtown Gdynia

© ThinkCo

no slow love in concrete houses?

Blocks, despite the efforts of architects and architectural researchers, are still perceived by negative factors. Most Poles will sooner associate with blocks the possibility of a knife attack by a local element than a neighborhood happy to live in. Well, in neighborhoods mythologized by rap, life can be happy.

Poznan Rataje

Poznan's Rataje

Photo: Rzuwig, © CC BY-SA 3.0

According to analysts, Poznan 's Rataje can serve as an example, whose average in the survey was as high as 4.13. In comparison, Katowice's Osiedle Tysiąclecia achieved a score of 3.63, and Warsaw's Ursynów 3.81.

What contributed to such a good score for Ratajów? First of all, infrastructure for children, accessibility to stores or recreation and sports venues were appreciated. Rataje also stood out for its high score on safety or public transportation and access. A negative aspect turned out to be the cost of living and access to entertainment and cultural attractions, although the second factor appears in almost all districts outside city centers.

Positive elements mentioned by residents of the district - Poznań Rataje

Positive elements mentioned by residents of the district - Poznań Rataje

© ThinkCo

what is a happy home?

After pointing out examples of positively rated city centers and apartment blocks, analysts focused on mythologized single-family neighborhoods. The proliferation of cottages that we can see not only next to big cities, but even small towns shows that this type of development, despite its considerable baggage of imperceptible flaws, has also caught on.

Wrocław's Big Islands

Wrocław's Big Islands

Photo: Pnapora, © CC BY-SA 4.0

The winner in this category was Wroclaw's Great Island. The district scored 4.28, earning one of the best scores of any district in the country. As many as 79% of respondents considered greenery to be the most important element of the district - an exception to all other cities in the survey. Further down the list are transportation, availability of stores, and neighborhood/community relations.

Positive elements mentioned by residents of the district - Wrocław Great Island

Positive elements mentioned by residents of the district - Wrocław Wielka Wyspa

© ThinkCo

What determines happiness?

The survey conducted by think tank ThinkCo reveals in a rather interesting way something that may seem obvious to many - the way a neighborhood is built does not determine happiness at all. In a world dominated by the myth of gray blocks of flats and the colorful vision of a suburban patchwork, this does not seem so certain at all.

Cechy dobrze zaprojektowanej przestrzenii wskazane w raporcie

characteristics of a well-designed space identified in the report

© ThinkCo

There is also no golden mean or panacea for creating a happy neighborhood, even if certain points of commonality like access to stores, greenery or social infrastructure in the form of health or education facilities connect each neighborhood. There is no simple instruction for a happy neighborhood - for luck! The report also identifies a number of solutions that can be considered signposts.

You can read the report on the ThinkCo website.

compiled by Wiktor Bochenek

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