The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks life evaluation, physical health, emotional health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access. Once our basic needs are provided for, increased wealth does not increase our happiness appreciably, nor does unemployment effect us as much as we might think. Instead, happiness is due to our sense of belonging, and not our income, confirmed by John Helliwell, professor of economics at the University of British Columbia. Public spaces that bring people together in congenial activity produce happier citizens than those – like traffic jams – that spur animosity and aggression, Professor Helliwell says.
Still, neither of these indices correlate urbanism to happiness. But the City of Vancouver is starting to. As one of the world’s most livable cities, Vancouver is asking itself what more it can do to provide for physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs. In doing so, it’s adding spirit to the other pillars of a healthy community: complete community (land use, density); healthy mobility (transit); healthy buildings(zero carbon); thriving landscapes (open space); green infrastructure (water, sewers, storm); healthy food systems (organic agriculture, nutrition); healthy community (facilities, programs); and healthy abundance (sustainable economic development).
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
But it is the only one that matters today. From Hazel Borys at Placeshakers, she offers up a new measure of urban happiness in a brilliant piece: