Our current system is focussed on constant economic growth. We need, individually, and as a community, organisation or a place, to be consuming more ‘stuff’ this year than last, and more ‘stuff’ next year than this. That is how we currently define ‘progress’, ‘development’ and ‘success’.
Whilst money, food, transport, culture, health, education, jobs etc are all important things for us to thrive, they are not the end in itself, the goal.
Increasingly, economists, politicians, academics and environmentalists are recognising that we need to measure and value more than money and that we must rethink how we define progress. Wellbeing is emerging as the front-runner as it encompassing elements of so much of our lives – including health, education, economy, environment and justice.
Whilst much work is emerging at an international or national level on this, there is a significant gap when it comes to local scale change, despite the major pressures of urbanisation globally.
Happy City was set up to help make this shift in cities around the world. Our aim is to support individuals, communities and decision makers put the happiness of people, place and the planet at the heart of how we make decisions.
Happy City is leading the field in providing innovative yet practical solutions to delivering real wellbeing improvement at a city-scale. There is already international interest from as far afield as Australia, USA, Canada, South Korea, UAE and across Europe.
“Happy City would be a great thing for other cities around the world to emulate”
Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post
- Make the invisible visible: Our current means of measuring and understanding what makes cities thrive are largely based on very simplistic economic outcomes which miss many vital elements of personal, environmental and social capital. Measures of wellbeing take these seemingly intangible factors into account and provide a much more complete picture of the determinants and drivers of sustainable prosperity.
- Provide multiple benefits: Research shows that improvements in wellbeing support long-term improvements in many policy areas including health, productivity, security, social behaviours and education (the list is growing), demonstrating that wellbeing policy, investment and action are not a luxury, but a necessity.
- Create a common currency. Due to the impact that wellbeing has on so many policy areas, wellbeing data can be used to value the effectiveness of policies and interventions across policy silos.
Watch the inspiring speech by Robert Kennedy in 1968 to get a flavour of why it’s important.
To see what a difference we think this can make watch the short video below.