The main objective of the article is an attempt to indicate factors which determine the image of a city as a good place to live as well as to reveal the ways in which they affect the citizens’ quality of life. In order to do so, the author selected the city of Gdynia which is perceived as the best city to live in by its citizens. Among the most important factors determining the quality of life in general there are: the scale of a city, local identity, public spaces, symbolic places, housing environment, perception of a place, personal satisfaction of a place where a particular person lives, urban policies as well as presence and activeness of local leaders. The article presents the results of a social study carried out by the author herself during two periods of time – in 2004 and 2014 as well as the results of the Social Diagnosis 2015.
The two chosen estates, Garnizon and Wiszace Ogrody have evolved during the last decade or so in Gdańsk. Both developed with the idea of balanced functionality and New Urbanism despite very diff erent locations. The aim was to combine apartment buildings with shops, other services, hotels, offi ce buildings and cultural venues. Numerous interesting and inviting public spaces were also high on the agenda. It was intended to create an interesting, multifunctional space, to maximise the use of the space throughout the day, also making it eco friendly by minimising the use of cars. That`s how an interesting, beautifull space impacts the energy. The centrally located Garnizon has been quite successful, whereas the more peripherally placed Wiszące Ogrody has not quite succeeded due to fi nancial restrictions and is mainly a housing estate at the moment. The hope is that it will grow into a similar entity with new development and helped by the new rail link.