Measuring quality of life in border cities: The border observatory project in the us-mexico border region

Devon McAslan, Mihir Prakash, David Pijawka, Subhrajit Guhathakurta, Edward Sadalla

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Beginning in 2004, the Border Observatory Project started to collect quality-of-life data in the US-Mexico border region especially in the urban areas along the border. Up to that time, the various efforts to measure urban conditions in the border were limited, piecemeal, or not systematic, and replete with serious data shortfalls. This made drawing meaningful comparisons between cities on either side of the border a challenging process. Several urban indicators were available, but the full array of possible measures for quality-of-life assessments were not available because of missing data, scale inconsistencies between the two countries, as well as the complications engendered by inconsistent definitional uses. The Observatory collected both “objective” measures and “subjective” indicators up to 2010 to complete the first phase of the project for four pairs of sister cities-eight cities in total. Subjective measures were developed through household surveys in each of the cities, and the study examined longitudinal changes in these measures for two sister pairs. Two other analyses were developed contributing to the quality-of-life measurement approaches - an index based on economic, social and environmental indicators, and a happiness or social well-being measure for each city. As border regions are developing, this case provides a successful and comprehensive approach to bi- national quality-of-life border indicators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCommunity Quality-of-Life Indicators
Subtitle of host publicationBest Cases VI
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9789400765016
ISBN (Print)9789400765009
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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