cities of happiness.

Elizabeth Farrelly, a Sydney-based columnist, architecture critic and author, in her article points out that, “But the point is, cities are not principally for, and should never be measured principally in, pleasure“. Though this may seem a bit out of context, I disagree with the statement. I don’t believe it would be fair to state that cities “should never be measured principally in pleasure“. Yes, when a group of planners/architects/urban designers/landscape architects/engineers design, plan, and build a city, the primary focus should be the city’s functionality. But primarily, the functionality of the city is still based on the happiness of its residents and visitors. In other words, it is the happiness measures that made up the functionality measures. If the transportation of city A is thorough enough, then the transportation of city A is not functioning as well as it must; therefore, the planners and designers will work towards changing the measurements of the element to make it more functional. It’s about the happiness of people. If happiness was not one of the most important measures for cities’ success, why would the government, firms, or interest groups argue over changes being made to their streets, neighborhoods, and overall plans?

“This happiness is a side-benefit. The best, most lasting kind of happiness, the gurus say, comes from pursuing not happiness itself, but something bigger and more strenuous. This is what cities are good at.” I, again, don’t agree with this. Most people who move in their lifetimes, tend to move to cities where they believe they find happiness, success, and dreams. These cities/suburbs/towns give them a sense of confidence, power, and belief that draws them to be better. With being better, you achieve happiness. So, yes, though happiness may not be an ultimate point which we reach, the inspirations, adventures, and challenges we face on the way are great stories. Normal people on a daily basis get inspired by great cities and they make changes. Normal people move to challenging places to get inspired. Normal people seek happiness too, and I believe cities offer the most important support in terms of happiness.

“In a good city, you can feel the ideas in the air. Just walking the streets is exciting because the backstory, the front story and side stories tickle your brain cells. A city is an intellectual adventure in a way that the ‘burbs can never be.” That, I believe, is a little harsh. I think any city can be exciting, adventuring, and inspirational. I think that a city with such quality would be the one, where the happiness of its residents/visitors is one of the primary elements of its planning/design. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the policy, government, and planning is all fairy-tales, glitter, unicorn, and rainbows, but I do believe that governments whose primary elements are the happiness of the residents will make that happen in their cities. Maybe we should just hire special planners whose jobs would be to make the happiness happen. I would most definitely apply.

Be Happy.

Love,

Planet Urban

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