I read this article in Seattle’s The Stranger: Can City Government Make Us Happy?
The authror of the article was pretty snarky about the whole process, and I admit it’s not the best thought-out initiative, but my first thought was, “at least they’re interested and trying.”
I actually thought the task force (let’s call it that since the town hall meeting was fairly limited in public representation) had some pretty interesting insights:
“The last four days, we were out on the streets asking, ‘What makes people happy?'” explained Laura Musikanski of Seattle’s Happiness Initiative, which was tasked with surveying Seattle’s happiness levels in 2011 (spoiler: Poor people are less happy). Behind the panelists sat a wall of sticky notes with the answers to that question, including sex, fish, power, free parking, corn, and sun.
“A lot of people said water—they love the rain,” added Mario Chamorro of Make It Happy. “People in Seattle are waterproof!”
I don’t know if people meant rain when they said water – Seattle is also surrounded on multiple sides by lake or sound – but maybe they did mean rain. Who knows, we might just be that crazy. But rather than critique their methodology, I would like to applaud the city of Seattle, a city that is shrouded in damp, dark, and gray for most of the year, for at least starting to tackle this question.
I’m curious if anything will come of this, or if they’ve burned all their happy budget on the Make It Happy team from New York. If this is in fact ongoing, I might suggest having your next Happy Team meeting in the sun. It was one of the things on your list that makes people happy, after all. And maybe offer some fish and corn. 🙂
- Seattle’s First Happiness Open House Was Super Depressing (slog.thestranger.com)
- Can City Government Make Us Happy? (thestranger.com)
- City Launches Campaign to “Make Seattle Happy” (slog.thestranger.com)
- How to “spread happiness” in Seattle: Conlin to host forum (seattlepi.com)