Happy City Measurement & Policy

Does Happiness really matter and can it really be measured?

We admit that happiness is an elusive concept and not easily measurable! To some, happiness is simply feeling good; to others, happiness is what ultimately matters in life. We think of happiness in terms of our wellbeing – how well we are feeling and functioning in our everyday lives. And this can be measured! We have built the Happy City Index in partnership with a number of academic experts from the international and interdisciplinary science of wellbeing.

How are the Happiness Pulse and the Happy City Index connected?

The Happiness Pulse is our innovative online survey tool, which measures personal wellbeing across a wide variety of domains and indicators. It can be used at an individual, organisational, community or city scale to understand how people are feeling and functioning in their lives.

The Happy City Index is a basket of local indicators from pre-existing data sources which help outline how well cities are creating the conditions for Sustainable Wellbeing.

Together, these two sets of data provide us with a comprehensive picture of how well a city is doing at creating the right conditions for lasting and equitable wellbeing and then whether that is the reality for people on the ground in local communities.

Is this national/international?

The project is currently being developed and piloted in Bristol in the UK. It has already received international recognition, at a national, european and global level. We aim to roll out the Index to other cities across the world in 2017.

Is this a government thing disguised as a community thing?

Happy City is an independent charity with a history of working with both grassroots community organisations and policymakers within local authorities. Our independent status enables us to work at both of these levels, always focusing on how to improve wellbeing of individuals, communities and cities.

The Happiness Pulse

What questions do you ask and why did you choose these?

The Happiness Pulse questions were selected from two processes: a) a review of the academic and policy literature on wellbeing measurement; and b) focus groups with individuals and community organisations. We chose questions that provided us with a comprehensive picture of people’s wellbeing that was both intuitive and informative to individuals and academically rigorous.

Has the survey been validated?

Yes. We validated the survey with researchers at the University of Bristol using the data we received as part of our small-scale city pilot in 2015. The paper outlining this validation work is due to be published in the International Journal of Wellbeing later this year.

Who will use the data and for what purpose? Why do you want this data and what will it make a difference to if I give it?

All user data is anonymous and will only be used for the purpose of analysis. By taking your Happiness Pulse, not only will you gain a better understanding of your wellbeing and how to improve it, you will also be helping us to gain a better understand of how people’s lives across the city are going and the kinds of conditions that really make a difference to people’s lives.

Taking the Happiness Pulse

How can taking a survey possibly help me be happier?

The survey can help you better understand and improve your wellbeing. It can help you see how well you are doing in three key life domains: Be, Do and Connect. Based on your scores for each domain, you can then Explore More about how you can improve things in the areas that need it most.

How long does it take to complete the survey?

The survey takes just 5 minutes to complete. You can then find out “What kind of happy are you today?”, share the survey with your friends, and explore a number of ways in which you can improve your happiness

What if I don’t answer all of the questions?

If you don’t answer all the wellbeing questions then you won’t be able to get your results! Each question is important for properly understanding how happy you are. We also require your postcode so that we can see how well people are doing across the city.

Is all user information confidential? What do you do with the data?

Yes, completely. We will analyse the data in an anonymised format and only report on how well different groups and wards across the city are doing.

Will people be able to work out who I am through my postcode?

No. We use postcode information to identify the city wards people are located in. We then analyse the data using ward information, not postcodes.

What do you do with the user email addresses?

User email addresses will only be used for the purposes of keeping in touch with users about the project. We will not share your email address with anyone.

What advice is there for users with very low levels of wellbeing?

We recommend that users with very low levels of wellbeing seek support, if needed, from established support groups and services. You can find a list of these on your local Mind website.

What if we have feedback on the survey or the project?

You can leave your feedback at index@happycity.org.uk

If people are interested in finding out more, do you do any happiness training?

Yes! Please see the training page of the Happy City website: www.happycity.org.uk/training

Do you have the survey in other languages?

Unfortunately not at the moment. We plan to translate the survey into other languages when we roll it out to cities across the UK and beyond.

Using the Happiness Pulse in Your Organisation

Can I get a code/url for a particular project or group within my organisation?

Yes. During the pilot phase – for April-June 2016 – we are offering this free to all local organisations. Please get in contact at index@happycity.org.uk to register for your unique organisational url and instruction for how to share the Happiness Pulse with your staff or stakeholders

Can we carry out the survey twice to evaluate the impact of our projects?

Yes. As long as you collect the first set of survey data between April-June 2016 then you can continue to collect another set of data before September 2016.

Who else is using the survey? What is the comparability of the results?

A number of different groups and organisations are using the survey, across the public, health, voluntary, business, housing and environmental sectors. You group results will be comparable at a city and national level as well as across your particular sector.

Can we continue using the survey for free?

From October 2016 onwards (after the pilot phase) we will be offering the Happiness Pulse to organisations for a small fee.

Who will do the data analysis?

Unfortunately we are not able to analyse your group data during the pilot phase. From October 2016 onwards, we will also offer, on a sliding scale, various levels of analysis on your group data

Can we add questions into the survey?

The Happiness Pulse includes 20 wellbeing questions that cannot be changed in order to keep the survey comparable at a local and national level. If you are interested in creating an additional bespoke module of questions to go alongside the Happiness Pulse then please get in touch with us at index@happycity.org.uk

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