A nice article from The Atlantic about how urban designers can do things to make living in the city a truly happier place to live:
I’ve been looking at some research reports, and confirming that some of the qualities associated with great urbanism – good public transit; easy access to cultural activities, recreation and shops; connectedness – are associated positively with human happiness. I first reported on a study reaching just those conclusions back in early February. Others found the study as well, concluding that residents of “beautiful, well-designed cities” are happier than those living in suburbs.
I’ve been following this topic for some time, because I believe that factors we generally think of as “subjective” can be every bit as important to fostering great, sustainable places as those that we can measure objectively. Of course, researchers being researchers, we try to measure them anyway (Seattle’s city council president on that city’s Happiness Initiative: “Measuring the subjective happiness or well-being levels of Seattle residents is an important tool”), and I suppose it was just a matter of time before someone came up with a ranking. Indeed, earlier this year The Daily Beast measured a number of factors they believed make people happy, concluding in a widely-publicized story that residents of Washington, D.C., were the happiest in America, followed by residents of Boulder, San Francisco, San Jose, and Ann Arbor.
[Some research] points out, however, that other research contradicts those conclusions, or at least muddies them significantly.
Still another study – this one involving a bit of self-selection, since its data were generated by use of an iPhone app – finds that none of the above is true, since nature is what really produces a good mood.
There are definitely positive elements to living the city: more social contact with others, social and cultural events, potential access to a variety of fresh fruits and veggies, and more. There is also the flip side to all of those positives.
Read the entire article, and write back with your own opinion: do you believe that people can be happier in the city?