2012
05.18

We want to be connected. That’s the major takeaway from a report on people living in cities around the world. The report, produced by Ericsson ConsumerLab, looked into how satisfied people in 13 large cities around the world were with their lives. In general, they are the most satisfied when they feel they’re making a connection with others, and that they are using their time productively.

Of course, being a survey by Ericsson, the report also focuses on how technology is enabling people to stay connected. The results are interesting. The cities included in the report were Stockholm, Mumbai, Johannesburg, New York, Tokyo, London, Los Angeles, Cairo, Moscow, São Paulo, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Seoul. Overall, 48% of people living in these cities say they are satisfied with their lives. Another 25% of people say they are not satisfied. In case you’re curious, the two cities with the highest satisfaction scores are Stockholm and Mumbai. The two lowest are Hong Kong and Seoul.

Staying connected is important to these citizens. The report shows around 50% of city dwellers use their mobile phones every day to connect to the Internet, and about 40% of them own smartphones. The quality of the city’s mobile network coverage is in the list of the top five things city dwellers are most satisfied with.

So we know people in cities find a lot of satisfaction in their mobile devices. But what else makes them happy? Other things include having a lot of restaurants, cafés, pubs, shopping malls, supermarkets, and entertainment facilities close by. I think there’s a connection here between mobile phones and these other establishments, and that’s the fact that all these places—pubs, clubs, and the like—allow people to interact with others and feel linked to their communities. That’s one of the things that most satisfies people who live in large cities.

The report says people living in large city centers tend to spend more time socializing and using online social networks than suburbanites. This correlates to their high use of mobile devices and smartphones: These devices allow them to stay connected to others.

Tools that help people to feel more closely linked with others are likely to continue to gain in popularity. And as more people than ever move to cities, the supply of devices and the networks to support them will need to keep pace.

At this June’s Connected World Conference, speakers will delve into various ideas of what it means for a city to be connected. Check out the session on San Leandro, Calif., which is seeing the deployment of the latest fiber optic infrastructure.

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