Revisiting residential self-selection issues: A life-oriented approach

Junyi Zhang


It has been widely argued that residential self-selection stems from two sources: attitudes and sociodemographic traits. This argument would be true if decisions were made with respect to only residential choice and travel behavior. Because they are just a part of people’s life choice, the influence of life choice on self-selection cannot be ignored. In this context, a life-oriented approach becomes relevant, where residential and travel decisions are interdependent not only with each other, but also with other life domains as a part of general life decisions. This paper conceptually argued and empirically confirmed the necessity of developing a life-oriented approach to reexamine residential self-selection issues. I proposed that life choices should be treated as an additional source of the self-selection, and dynamic interdependences between residential choice, travel behavior, and other life choices should be properly modeled. From a policy perspective, the life-oriented approach suggests that successful transport and land use policies should be designed together with policies in other significantly relevant sectors (e.g., health and environment) and such cross-sectoral policies could better contribute to the improvement of people’s quality of life.


residential self-selection, travel behavior, life-oriented approach, QOL

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