- This book suggests how that exploration should be undertaken, and how a monitoring system that has a solid conceptual basis and is both easy to operate and reasonable in cost can then be put into practice. Long the ideal of many scholars and observers of urban problems, such a system may now be close to realization. In this book, examples of Latin American cities are used as case studies. As argued in the first chapter, there are good reasons to concentrate on Latin America: it is the world region with the most rapid urban development and is the most urbanized region in the developing world. In contrast to residents of cities in poorer regions, Latin Americans have managed to democratize homeownership and to extend basic services to the majority of households. That means that improving the Quality of Life (QoL) in Latin American cities is no longer primarily a matter of bricks and mortar. But the challenges are as large as they are diverse. Chapter two introduces the reader to the hedonic price and the life satisfaction approaches and presents a comparative summary of the conclusions of the six case studies. This chapter, like the first, is essential for the policy maker or activist in urban affairs who wants to understand the possibilities of the new systems for monitoring the quality of urban life. Chapter three is a concise and self-contained introduction to the economic theory on which the hedonic pricing and life satisfaction approaches are based and which forms the backbone of this book. Chapters four-eight then summarize the most notable findings of the case studies, each emphasizing a different topic and focus.