Exploring Stockolm’s Spatial Capital in Relation to Sustainable Development : a quantitative study on the impact of geographical proximity on education and income

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Kulturgeografiska institutionen

Abstract: The aim of this thesis was to examine if the theoretical concept of spatial capital explains the distribution of the human capital and high incomes in an urban region using Stockholm county as an empirical example. The spatial capital theory suggests that geographical proximities can explain social and economic distributions in urban regions and is divided into two subcategories;position and situation capital where the former measures the geographical proximities to urban environments and cultural amenities and the latter measures to proximities to public transportation alternatives. The study was conducted using proximity analysis performed with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in QGIS, and stepwise multiple linear regression analysis performed in SPSS. Human capital and high incomes were chosen as dependent variables due to their relevance to sustainable development, especially in regards to urban economics becoming more knowledge-based. Spatial capital was operationalized into five variables of measuring geographical proximities; distance to central business district (CBD), distance to regional urban cores, distance to nearest amenity, distance to nearest railway, and distance to nearest bus stop. The human capital was operationalized as tertiary education and income was measured as taxable earned income. All results demonstrated statistically significant effects on the dependent variables. Proximity to central Stockholm was the strongest explanatory variable regarding the distribution of human capital and high incomes in Stockholm county. When excluding this variable, distance to railways was proven to have the strongest effect on the distributions. The conclusion was that the spatial capital theory explains that the distance to central Stockholm and distance railways are the strong predictors for how human capital and high incomes are distributed in the county. The robustness of analysis and the empirical findings’ meaning in the context of regional planning in Sweden wasthen presented and discussed.

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