Environmental perception in 33 European countries: an analysis based on partial order

  • Lars CarlsenEmail author
  • Rainer Bruggemann


The environmental perception in 33 European countries is based on eight indicators: ‘Air Pollution,’ ‘Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility,’ ‘Dissatisfaction with Garbage Disposal,’ ‘Dirty and Untidy,’ ‘Noise and Light Pollution,’ ‘Water Pollution,’ ‘Dissatisfaction to Spend Time in the City’ and ‘Dissatisfaction with Green and Parks in the City.’ This system of indicators characterizes a set of objects, here 33 countries, with respect to a complex ranking aim, which may be formulated as attitude toward quality in urban life. Usually such system of indicators is analyzed by methods of multicriteria decision aids, such as the well-known PROMETHEE. Here our focus is on what insights bring the indicators if they are not numerically combined to get a ranking index, like that proposed by Numbeo. In the study performed here, we divide the indicator set into two subsets, the first, the so-called pressure set includes indicators of pollution; the other set, denoted as “quality of life in urban areas” (briefly “urban quality”), includes indicators describing the attitude toward urban services. We show the different roles of pressure and urban quality indicators, and thus the role of conflicts among the indicators. We perform a similarity study and apply methods to find the intrinsic importance of indicators. Further we disclose the combined effect of both indicator systems and the role of each indicator for the ranking. The most important factors for the overall environmental perception were found to be ‘Noise and Light Pollution’ and ‘Dissatisfaction with Green and Parks in the City,’ whereas ‘Water Pollution,’ ‘Dissatisfaction with Garbage Disposal’ and ‘Air Pollution’ apparently play a less dominant role.


Environmental perception Partial ordering Indicator importance 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Awareness CenterRoskildeDenmark
  2. 2.Department of EcohydrologyLeibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesBerlinGermany

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