What are local and national communities doing to improve the well being of the residents in pursuit of happiness. Finding and utilizing an indicator to wellbeing is crucial. The Social Progress Index is utilized by a few local communities. We highlight best practice.
Communities working in pursuit of happiness
In Santa Monica, California, the government wants to make its citizens feel better.
The Wellbeing Project will harness the power of data to provide a shared understanding of our community's strengths and needs, encouraging collaboration among city leaders, local organizations, and residents to improve our collective wellbeing.
Santa Monica’s Wellbeing Project is the result of two years of work and a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The goal was to have Santa Monica provide a model of how cities can develop strategies for maximizing their citizens’ happiness, rather than traditional measures of economic prosperity. Many national governments, like Bhutan, Chile, and Canada, have been adopting this idea, but it hasn’t yet happened much on a local level.
The Serious Business of Well-Being
The Happiness Initiative began as Sustainable Seattle’s fifth set of regional sustainability indicators, but has now become an independent project. We launched the project by putting Victoria’s happiness survey online in January of 2011. People from every state in the United States took it, as did 500 people from other countries. The survey was a shortened version of Bhutan’s, but still took half an hour to complete (a problematic length in an age of short attention spans).