A million dollars of happiness for Santa Monica

The city of Santa Monica has been awarded a million-dollar grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to develop an index for well-being.  (You can read about the other winners of the”Mayors Challenge” in this NY Times story.)

ImageSanta Monica’s produced a slick promotional video for the effort (shot on the Big Blue Bus, buses being indicators of happiness because they avert that antidote to happiness, commuting.) While it incorrectly claims they shall be the first city to chart happiness (Seattle beat them to the distinction, and then there’s what’s been doing in the state of Vermont) it’s still exciting to see the city leaders commit to understanding, and then hopefully improving, quality of life.  By actually factoring quality of life into the equation, rather than treating it as a sideline.

The question they pose in their proposal: “how can cities use limited resources more effectively to create conditions needed for people to thrive?”

And of course all these efforts derive from the Gross National Happiness movement that emanates from the Kingdom of Bhutan….and, if you’re reading this, you likely know my interest in all that.

Now of course, none of this makes anyone happier. (And happiness is a squishy thing to define, right?)  It just makes people aware of the component parts that make a community a good, productive, proactiveplace to live.


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