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What makes a Happy City?

Blog : 13 October 2016

Well-being and happiness

The goal of Exeter City Futures to make the Exeter region congestion free and energy independent emphatically includes our focus on the well-being and happiness of the citizens in Exeter and the region.

Many factors affect the well-being of citizens: economic growth, opportunity for employment, access to excellent education and great health care. But how often do we think about the infrastructure of the built environment in which we live, the level of traffic on our roads, the amount of fuel used to live our daily lives or how connected we feel in our communities?

During one of our research forays on to the world wide web, we discovered the aptly titled Happy City. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Happy City understand the influence that cities have on the way citizens move, behave and feel. The way our homes, streets, walkways, green spaces, roads, community centres and buildings are constructed affect the way we think, feel and socialise. Happy City’s expertise in urban design, social engagement, research and organising public events affirms their approach and belief that:

the happy city, the green city and the low-carbon city are the same place, and everyone can help build it.

Citizen engagement

Citizens who have been listened to, who have shared their needs and dreams and have felt understood are engaged and happy citizens. They are the instigators, collaborators and visionaries involved in the processes of creating change. Citizens can participate and have their say in the way buildings, neighbourhoods, roads, green spaces, activities, businesses are designed, shaped and invested in. By voicing needs and through participation communities, towns and cities can become happy.

Becoming congestion free and energy independent will increase the well-being and happiness of the citizens of Exeter and the region.

Below is a collated list of articles, blogs, projects and playful innovations focusing on how cities can be more connected, low–carbon and happier through engagement with citizens. Enjoy the curated read.