Jasper Bergink, contests that the assumption is that when a country becomes richer, its citizens will be better off.
But is that the case?
Research shows that the Western world is a lot richer than fifty years ago. At the same time, we are hardly any happier than in the 1950s. And the Social and Cultural Planning Agency (SCP) recently concluded that quality of life decreased between 2010 and 2012, for the first time in thirty years!
For Bhutan, a small Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas, these conclusions do not come as a surprise. Since 1972, Bhutan based its policy on Gross National Happiness (GNH). GNH takes a broader approach than economic interests, and also helps the state to consider the influence of factors like health, mental well-being and community life. The video explains how it works.
The British new economics foundation has researched five ways to well-being. These are factors that affect the happiness and well-being of an individual: connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give. Cities can integrate some elements in their urban planning and design. Public spaces can be designed to facilitate that people meet each other (connect) or are invited to do sports (be active). Through education and community activities, city councils can promote skills and values that help us to appreciate the moment (take notice), be curious (keep learning) and share with others (give).