Quality of life and environmental constraints: An annotated bibliography

Council of Planning Librarians 01/1983; 129:1-23.


The economic profession implicitly assumes that satisfaction and happiness are not directly measurable. Thus, economists have worked at developing indicators, usually counted in· dollars, to act as proxies for these unmeasurables. Each of these indicators relies on the assumption that economic and psychological well-being
have a close and necessary association. And yet many have argued that as economic well-being increased in the post-war years, psychological well-being declined. Social science research on the various domains of life satisfaction and sense of well-being is beginning to uncover the importance of such issues as a sense of self-worth, a sense that personal actions matter, a feeling of compatibility between behavior and the world
at large, a sense of self-sufficiency, the sense of relatedness to the community, and the sense of responsibility to the environment.These are issues largely overlooked by economic indicators. This collection of readings accents these issues and is suggestive of the direction future research should take. Surprisingly little is known about the ways in which people seek to have their lives compatible with environmental constraints. The literature suggests the growth of voluntarily simple life styles, increased appreciation of intrinsic rewards (in contrast to extrinsic, usually monetary, rewards), and a tendency to look beyond economic arguments are all part of a growing, ecologically-concerned, segment of society. If research can show that a resource compatible life style is also rewarding and fulfilling the approach to environmental planning and management may need to undergo a radical shift.