The Framework & Methodology


  • The HCI framework is designed to show how well cities fairly and sustainably provide the conditions that create wellbeing.  Cities are given overall scores and rankings in three dimensions: City Conditions, Equality and Sustainability (Level 1)
  • Equality is assessed using indicators on inequalities in income, health and wellbeing across the city.   Sustainability is assessed using indicators on CO2 emissions and household recycling and energy consumption levels.
  • Cities can ‘drill down’ into the City Conditions dimension to see how well they are doing in five wellbeing domains – Work, Health, Education, Place and Community (Level 2)
  • Each of these domains is further divided into sub-domains concerning key policy areas within each domain (Level 3)

This framework provides a systematic, empirical foundation to guide city progress.  It collates a broad range of (60+) indicators from recognised national data sources, all of which are frequently updated and available at a local authority level for the England Core Cities (including London).

For more details of the framework see the Methodology report here or the Executive Summary of the 2016 Results here

The development of the Happy City Index  has been a collaboration between Happy City and New Economics Foundation (NEF).  It has benefited from the substantial academic support of both University of Bristol and University of Swansea.  For more details please see our Full HCI academic Report here

For a full list of our advisory group, funders and supporters please see our partners page here

Please click here for a PDF of our full HCI Framework and Methodology including a summary of the ten key design principles incorporated in the Happy City Index.

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