In April of 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted unanimously to start convening toward a new economic paradigm based on happiness and wellbeing. A few months later, over 400 international experts gathered to begin creating coherence for the critical mass of data, expertise and common will that is committed to setting new social benchmarks.
Bhutan, Japan, Finland and many local areas have been measuring and consciously focusing on development of happiness and wellbeing as primary to economic development. Studies indicate that organizations and localities that are values-driven are ahead of the curve in social, economic, and ecological strength. One of the most fundamental distinctions emerging from this work is the importance for localities to consciously develop their interdependence with each other and with the commons.
The Happiness Index Survey has been used by localities around the world as a means to quantify what’s most important to them so that they use real data in order to choose wisely about how they want to live. The Happiness Survey is an easily accessible, well-tested assessment created by the Personality and Well-Being Laboratory at San Francisco State University in partnership with the Happiness Initiative in Seattle, Washington. The Happiness Survey is adapted from a more complex data-gathering instrument used in the country of Bhutan to measure Gross National Happiness as an alternative or complementary measure to Gross National Product.
The survey is being taken by residents, students, faculty, private and governmental employees, business owners and other stakeholders in communities around the world to account for 11 factors: overall satisfaction with life, material wellbeing, environmental quality, governance, community vitality, cultural vitality, education and learning, physical health, time balance, psychological well-being and workplace experience.
It results in a report card-type Happiness Index that can be used as a guide for developing common priorities and effective civic engagement. The initial Index will heighten accountability for community wellbeing and also provide a baseline so that future surveys can track progress. Working from a highly inclusive, data-based platform provides a common barometer for bringing diverse stakeholders into coherence around vision and strategy, for considering project effectiveness, and for determining whether and how communal will and resources are aligned. Measuring provides a common vantage point for creating a happy and well community.
As a Transition Town and the first Fair Trade Town in America, and as a town with robust civic, governmental and business communities, Media is well positioned for celebrating Happiness Week. Combining that celebration with a campaign to collect related data would enable new levels of strategizing, realizing and accounting for how the community is fulfilling and evolving its civic aspirations.
Participants who take the survey via our link will be aggregated in Happiness Index results for our area. Please fill it out if you consider yourself associated with the greater Media community through business, government, geographical or personal interest!