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52nd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regions in Motion - Breaking the Path", 21-25 August 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia
Defining quality of life (qol) at personal or societal level is a difficult process which largely depends on the selected determining factors. Among the various parameters having been proposed as qol determinants, leisure and culture issues have only recently found their place, as they had long been neglected. In the ¡developed¢ societies leisure time is acknowledged to be an integral part of a well-balanced management of personal time and a significant determinant for a person¢s well-being. The ¡right¢ to leisure is considered to be a measure for the societal quality, in the terms of personal freedom, participation in social life and creativity. A special dimension of the relationship connecting leisure, culture and qol which is also highlighted in the literature, concerns the ongoing development of consumption patterns regarding the ¡exploitation¢ of leisure options. The issue of leisure time acting as a qol determinant emerges mostly as a matter of quality rather than a matter of quantity. Thus, amplifying the ¡discretionary¢ time for all is not always sufficient for upgrading the collective qol. Cultural resources, leisure options and opportunities for improving of this type of time are needed. From this point of view, urban infrastructure concerning leisure activities and culture, constitute a significant determinant for the collective quality of life in a city. At the same time, cultural and leisure urban resources act as a powerful attraction for visitors, enhancing –or even driving- tourism development. Thereby, cultural and urban resources reinforce the tourist profile and competitiveness of cities. One could argue that this procedure also leads to an improvement of qol for citizens at a secondary level, but the relationship between tourism development and qoul is not always straightforward. Although tourism attraction acts as a driving force of a city¢s economic development, it has also been denounced as a carrier of several problems, including environmental degradation and social disturbance. Thus, while some cities pursue tourism development through the promotion of their cultural and leisure resources, others face with skepticism the effects of tourism in everyday urban life. Thus, the relationship between tourism, culture and leisure from the perspective of qoul is complex, and this paper aims at highlighting and analysing the issues arising from this relationship.
quality of urban life
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