BORIS Theses

BORIS Theses
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Quality of Life and Sustainability in Rural Switzerland

Wiesli, Thea Xenia (2022). Quality of Life and Sustainability in Rural Switzerland. (Thesis). Universität Bern, Bern

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Most wealthy countries, such as the members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, offer an above-average quality of life. Switzerland is known for being one of the wealthiest countries in the world and one of those that offer the highest quality of life. However, like many other wealthy countries, Switzerland massively overuses natural resources. This threatens the quality of life of those humans living in less wealthy countries and those who will belong to future generations. Reducing the inequitable distribution of high quality of life in the present and future generations is one of humanity's greatest challenges. To contribute to this discussion, this thesis is dedicated to the topic of sustainable quality of life and investigates this topic in Swiss rural areas in general and three regional nature parks. Thus, all four articles focus on the quality of life and its connection to sustainability. Specifically, the thesis addresses the conceptualisation of sustainable quality of life (Article 1), assesses the opinions of Swiss rural inhabitants on how to combine the quality of life with sustainability in rural areas (Article 2), tests regional nature parks as a model region for social and ecological sustainability and the relationship between resource use and life satisfaction (Article 3), and provides recommendations to regional nature park managers on how to improve quality of life in a sustainable manner (Article 4). The research project in which the thesis is embedded took place in cooperation with the management of the regional nature parks. Two empirical studies were conducted. The first involved qualitative interviews analysed via a content analysis (n = 90). The second was a cross-sectional survey, analysed via inferential statistics (n = 3’358). The resulting sustainable quality of life concept is multidimensional and contains nine components that integrate quality of life and sustainability. In the opinion of the rural inhabitants, the most important components for quality of life are not necessarily in conflict with sustainability. On the other hand, challenges to reconciling quality of life with sustainability revealed within the rural regions concern mainly equality between specific social groups and the supply of sustainable infrastructure. Further results of this thesis suggest that the regional nature parks do not yet provide quality of life and ecological sustainability in a significantly different way than in other comparable rural regions. However, another result of this thesis rejects the common hypothesis that resource use leads to life satisfaction and indicates the opposite relation. It can be assumed that the individual’s quality of life can promote sustainable development. Therefore, the thesis presents several opportunities to promote the quality of life of the population in the future.

Item Type: Thesis
Dissertation Type: Cumulative
Date of Defense: 24 February 2022
Subjects: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Institute / Center: 03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology
Depositing User: Sarah Stalder
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2023 13:11
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2023 22:25

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