Should we worry?
Other. Birds, to find out hey don't. Work for somebody that doesn't pay. And. Then, they told us about an time. We. Were excited about that because, of the $11. An hour so. We played for an aside and they said come on down. It's, my pleasure to welcome. You all tonight here. In front of this ping, table in a in, an empty room so now in, this space is actually, a gallery of the of the CCA that till, yesterday are hosted, an exhibition. An. Exhibition, titled, our up life there was a research project that has been trying to explore how some, our happiness. And, well-being. Are, kind. Of affecting. Today the, built environment, we, have been kind of asking. Questions. To architects. In the process of construction, of, somehow the public program connected to the show and tonight, we want to pose questions to you and. Just to introduce ourselves so, I'm laboratory, co-creator, public at, CCA I'm Francesco guru tigre token temple architecture the, CCA and joining. Us are adamant. Inform, the University, of East London its, most recent book is big capital whose London for. Some. Lakhta, the. Operations, manager from happy city an urban, planning design and architecture consultancy, in Vancouver I. Under. Sir the founding, director of the center for responsible enterprise at Cass Business School and the, author with, Karl cederstrom of, the wellness syndrome and. Tom. Lewis the Toronto bureau chief of monocle. Magazine so, thank you all very much for joining us can, I start off with a just, getting, a pulse of everyone. Here I think. Would be nice to know, and. Share. A question, with everyone it's like who. Amongst. Us does. Not want. To feel, happy in life, I feel, like happiness is as a as, a general, state as a feeling is something that's important, to me is, it the same for all of you or is it different it's. A bit like asking would you like to die tomorrow on the hot rocket of. Course everyone is gonna say yes I want to be happy and you know I'm willing to sign up to that too but, then the question for me would be do you want to be happy all of the time, right. Does your entire life want to be kind of one. Experience. Of blissful, happiness or do, you kind of simply, embrace the fact that as humans, we have a range of emotions sometimes. It's, anger. Sometimes it's happiness sometimes, it's joy. Sometimes it's boredom I think, I think, we'd all like to feel, happy. Although I think, fulfilment. Is. Probably, closer to what. A lot of people would, aspire, to especially, given the range of difficult. Circumstances. That one is likely to be confronted. With, in, the course of different. Life, experiences. Socio-economic. Political circumstances, but. In terms of linking, the question, of whether or not we want to be happy with. What. We. Can do to make citizens, in the city feel happy. Or what organizations. Or governments. Or city, governments, can do to, make City, to make people, in the city feel happy, I think. There is a question mark, around the. Motivation. There and why, actually, a. Municipal. Authority, a central, government might, wish its citizens, to feel happy. And what that notion of happiness might, actually mean, so. I think it's a really really complicated, question, which isn't really, one, we can answer by just saying wouldn't. You like to feel happy you know happy is just it's, not simple, like that I think in the setting of a city. You. Know any you pose the question, in my mind I thought well what what, do I like about the city what's the emotional, thing, about. Being, in. An urban environment that, makes me happy and I actually think it's kind of a notion of surprise in.
A, Really blanket, term it's like meeting a stranger in her cafe, it's like, having an encounter with someone that. You wouldn't maybe get in a smaller setting or it's sort of in another place and cities I think are pretty you. Know uniquely. Equipped to sort of provide, the, sort of you, know because at the end of the day life isn't scripted and you. Know we. Should without getting too deep about this but I think you know we should all be open. To sort of the unscripted, parts, of life and I think cities, are. Undoubtedly. And the best of venues for those surprises. To happen and to. Be richer for them and I suppose to lead on to what you are saying, it's what. Does the city therefore need to do to be a canvas, for people, to be able to have whatever happiness means wherever surprise. Means to you in your, corner. Of sort of life, in the city what. Does it need to do, to be to, be that kind of mean I guess it's a risk of jumping, straight in there with. The, big political, point. Some. Of my issues, with, the whole topic. Are. Around the fact that the happiness agenda, feels very very apolitical, and, a. Way for governments. To say oh we're, dealing, with well-being we're, dealing with mental health by, taking. All these boxes around. Happiness, and actually. When you have a situation of, massive, growing inequalities. In cities. All around the world to, look at, happiness. Interventions. Seems, a, banal. And B possibly, more sinister, there's. Some basic things if, you go, to a city and there's a lot, of expensive. SUVs. And Ferraris, in the street people, are less likely to be happy right it's, simply, because they see in equality and inequality makes, people happy now, cities, are massive, and machines for creating, inequality, a lot of the time and making that inequality visible. Green. Spaces or a lack of green space we know that, no pony makes you happy but it also can fundamentally undermine, your well being and in fact I think there's actually quite a lot of evidence to suggest a kind of a little bit counter what - what you're saying is that people who live in pet, cities tend to be less happy than people, who live outside of cities, so. Could. It be that cities, are a machine, for, creating, misery. Rather. Than happiness, you. Know I mean I think there's, two points about context, I want to make sure so one. Of the big, aspects, to context, is that actually this sort of performance, metrics. Which.
Is Infecting. Every, part of our lives is, also, infecting, this. You, know let's measure our emotions. You know let's rank our cities, as two happy happiest. Places or the least happiest, places you, know and that's part of a sort of just a much broader. Neoliberal. Approach to the city which is just very very keen on on rankings. If you actually look at the rankings, though of all the cities which come near the top of the Happiness. Indexes. As, far as I can see most. Of those cities, are actually cities. Which have the, lowest levels, of inequalities. Such, as Scandinavian. Cities. Tokyo. It's. Not the inequalities, index, there is it it's the happiness index, and it's, not motivated. By wanting, to reduce inequality, in, the city I would argue I mean forgive. Me if I'm, being you, know unfair, to some, of the motivations, here actually, I think it's motivated. From this metric. Orientated. Approach. To you. Know every aspect of our lives so, I think you have to sort of look at that as well when you know in this discussion, we have to look at what's lying, behind all. These indices, and who's funding them and who's writing, these reports. Yeah, I think that's a really good point one. Of the key things in the research that came out was this proliferation of rankings. Post-2008. In particular the kind of decision. Of the UN to start releasing this annual, happiness, report and how much does legitimated. This. This science or pseudoscience, but there's others like for example monocles, quality, of life survey so, my question wouldn't ask you tom was you know it's time when the lifestyle magazine is super, powerful. Congratulations. One. Of the questions that you know it was on the walls here was are the producers of rankings the designers, the new designers, of our cities someone. Asked you how do you see monocles, role in producing, rankings like what are you trying to achieve so. The quality of life. Survey. Is what, monaco has done since we were founded in, 2007. And it's really been sort of central, to what. Monocles, sort. Of sees itself, as in, lots of ways both, in terms of a way of you. Know engaging. Readers, first, and foremost, but. Also in terms of telling stories that, we feel sort of in, in our universe of places that do things really, well. We've. Done it every year for I, guess we just enough 13th. Survey. And it's, been kind of an array of cities that have made it in and off the list over the years I suppose. Some of the cities that have made it on its. Various points of maybe been slightly surprising.
But. We do use a pretty. Large and expansive, series. Of metrics that cover. Lots. Of areas, some. Very standard, and obvious, others. May be slightly more surprising, but each city, is measured against those sort, of metrics, and, you. Know we feel as though what. We're trying to get from this, ranking, is a, an. Essence of really of you know I guess, where I'm picking the idea of what quality of life is so you, know what does it mean being. Able to bike to school or your children to school does, it mean being able to go and get a fresh loaf of bread somewhere, does it mean having a good strong library, network that you can go to and, you know either rent a tool kit like you can in Toronto, or have, ballet lessons, streamed into a, library like in, Toronto. Each. 50 does unique and I. Think, with our ranking, we're not just interested about sort of the. Numbers. Of where cities fall, but the stories they tell and kind, of what their stories mean for living a pretty happy. Life, and you, know don't get me wrong we're not we're talking about quality of life we're. Not talking, quality of life for purely. You know one sector, of society you. Know we are looking at how say. A city that's made up of neighborhoods. For example, like Toronto, is, a. Pretty successful City even though there are kind of you know obvious, sort of gaps. In the canvass it kind of in Toronto given that it's so young and that it's changing so quickly. So. I think you, know I'd. Be interested to get your thoughts on whether you think sort, of listings. And you know those kind of things are useful. Because, I know from our point of view we take it really very seriously, and, we devote a lot of time each year two really digging into how a city has changed over the past year, and. You. Know what, it might mean for other cities coming up or other City sort of sliding down the scale whatever it is but we do take it very seriously. And I feel as though from a journalistic, point of view no we are in an age of sort of listicles. And listings and things it was very easy to sort of throw a listing, out and get loads of clicks that's really not, in our universe at all we hope. That our quality, of life survey, is thoughtful and, thought-provoking, kind. Of every year and that's, kind of why we do, it really not to just cause a kind of immediate. Splash, and then kind of you know move on to the next thing and I think that's what I read is a sort, of taking place can, I ask you, why. Do you think it's useful I, think. It's useful because, you. Know on the one hand we're sort of embedding. Ourselves, with a military. Battalion. In some country in the world on the next we're going to and really interesting, hotel developments, somewhere that. We think sets new standards of. Hospitality. What. We, hope. We're doing with this. Quality of life survey, is. Just, coming at slightly sideways, views, of what kind of quality of life means, so. Does it mean that you. Can go if you fancy a drink at 3 a.m. or you fancy, a cheese sandwich or 3 a.m. is there somewhere you can do that if, you want to go and go, to the library at 7 a.m. is there somewhere you can go and do that you know we think like there. Are people who those, are the habits of their life and they would aspire to you know having routines, that the city sort of really. Sort of comes. Up to sort of meet them in that and, I don't think that lots of other sort of listings, you. Know we, don't reveal our metrics, we don't make them public and I don't think many other sort of magazines, do. But. I think that we do try. And, knowing. That we have a very unique set of readers and an audience that's growing we try and come and meet them and sort of expect, you know try and sort of foresee, slightly kind of what they what. They find happiness in the city I suppose so, I wonder, if rankings, are inevitable, because. Humans. Tend to compare, them so those are and our brains are sort of wired that way and you. Think about how you're doing comparison to your friends to your family your, social circle when, people. From, low-income.
Backgrounds. Win the lottery they, their, lives tend to not be that much better because they get uprooted. From the communities, they're in and go into communities, that are you. Know compare. Themselves differently, and I, think that. Humans, have always tried to, compare. Themselves to one another and to. Outrank, each other in something. So what we know from psychology, is the quickest, route to unhappiness. Is comparing, yourself to others particularly, comparing, yourself upwards, to people who you'll. Never never be able to kind of aspire to their position so even, though we do have a tendency to, compare there's. A danger. Of this and danger, which comes with to compete and to compare I think they're both the same so there's dangers which come with it and I feel, like the. People, have always tried, even. If they're measuring, their own progress. They're. Competing against themselves against their past selves they try to to, measure. Their progress somehow. And. When. It comes to things like happiness well-being whatever, they've. Tended, to choose very bad proxies, for. For. For the things that they want to achieve. Like. GDP. And I, think I think, we're all in agreement that, GDP. Is a bad indicator, or, bad. Indicator, for success because, there's, a lot of research that's coming out that's showing that you, know money, does not necessarily, always make you happier it makes you happier to a certain extent and then it stops but, who feels like they chose GDP, who chose GDP yeah I don't know someone. Did but. It's but but but it's driven decisions. It's driven investments. And still does today and it's. Caused a lot of harm, and. And, the, the shift that's happening, that's that's, looking beyond, how, much we make how much we spend is, changing. The conversations. On certain, things it's, looking at, well. How how, are, people feeling, emotionally. I'm sure if it is changing, the conversation I, think it's just reframing, it I mean. And I think that's the point about, the. Rankings. Exploding. Post financial, crisis, because. There's, been a realization. That post financial crisis, the economic model has, failed so, actually. Measuring. Things by GDP, no longer seems to be making sense in any way so, this, seems to be a way. Of reframing, things. But. I. Don't. See it as coming from a goal of actually, looking, for a sort of societal, happiness, I think it's very I think it's very very, individualistic. Well. It's, not a citywide, level but. It's also about how individuals. Can make themselves, happy it's down to the individual, it's down to personal responsibility and. It, fits completely, within our. Dominant. Philosophy, of the times yeah, I don't see it terribly differently, I wouldn't. Disagree with you it's not terribly, different and there's, still the, let's, say new, capitalist. Approach that's saying it's, all within your hands, it's all up to you you can make your own life happy and I, think that's entirely, on not, entirely untrue you do control. The. Aspects. Of your happiness, but, they're the in the environmental. Impacts. The the the. Societal. Barriers for. Some people are much harder than for others you can't tell someone who a person of color who is born in a poor, poor. Community, with. Low access to health care to education etc, that, happiness is within your grasp that is the tool of the, oppressor, to try and keep the oppressed where, they are so, there's an example that I think for, me Kant is slightly the sort of maybe skepticism, quite rightly, housed you know for lots of ambitions, in urban. Environments, and it's in Santa Monica which is maybe a surprising. Sort of urban environment, is very app. Affluent, tight. Next to LA. And, I met the mayor of Santa Monica a couple of months ago and she's. Won lots of awards recently. Or something called the well-being index, which she instituted, and it was this questionnaire, effectively, that was sent out to the residents, of Santa Monica which, you know on the face of it as a picture postcard pretty, luxury, pretty. High-end place, but is actually a very mixed, community. They have new immigrant communities moving in particularly, from Yemen. I believe and Somalia, which is sort of creating quite an interesting mix in certain parts of that, city what. She said that did is that they then collated, this data and that they found that for example Santa, Monica's quite an elderly, quite a large proportion of elderly people and that the feelings, sentiments, of loneliness, were.
Through, The roof without them even knowing it there are lots of precious happening, there lots of elderly. Residents, were worried about being priced out of their apartments. They've lived in for decades, and. She said what they did thanks. To having all this information that they started, you know basically, offering, kind, of one-on-one sort, of you know interactions. With these, various, communities, another. Finding I thought that was incredibly, interesting, was that young. Toddlers. Of very, wealthy families, were. The ones that found. It most difficult to integrate, into. Kindergarten, when they got there so, what she decided, or her council decided to do was to create a sort. Of public. Pre-kindergarten. Space, where children of all social, sort. Of areas could go and intermingle. And mix, and because, you know if you're you know from, a super affluent family you maybe have a nanny you have lots of one-on-one time you don't really learn how to sort of share. Toys or you know those kind of things I thought, that was really fascinating and it seemed to be a very active way that had actually made. A difference in lots of corners of the society, and the way she pitched it was that. It meant that a city with, you. Know maybe more funds than other cities, you, know per capita, or whatever actually. Could target that money really, effectively, and I. Found, that quite an inspiring example, of an index of a ranking or ever within a city that. Seemed to be quite thoughtful to me so, it's the application of, it really isn't it rather than. The ranking, yeah I mean what you're really saying is you know loneliness. Epidemic. Mental. Health crisis, and actually. We can use these. Sorts. Of mechanisms, in, order to target, strategies. In those directions but. Is that a bad thing absolutely, it isn't, but. I don't. Think. It's where. A lot of the, happiness, agenda. For want of a better word has. Originated, from and, continues. To. Go in. One. Thing that, that I think is really important to note about. This. Focus. On well-being and, unhappiness, is well. Happiness the definition, of it it's subjective. Well-being, it means. The. Only way that the happiness. Scientific. Community. Have. Figured out to measure happiness is. To. Ask people how happy they are and and. And in that essence, it is about looking, a person. Recognizing. Them as human and asking. Them how they're feeling asking, them how they're experiencing. Life asking. Them what, the. The aspects, of their life that matter to them the most, and. In, an essence there is something democratic. About, that about. Not. Making assumptions, about, what makes people happy about.
Not. Presuming. Knowledge. About what makes people happy and about regularly. Surveying them I think about this in a way like I think you're making a, bit of an assumption, about the quality, of all, of these. Surveys. Unhappiness, is being a really very high by, the way I am, NOT claiming that they are accurate I am claiming that for. Once they. Are focused, they, are aiming to measure the right thing they. Are a tool. But, they are a very blunt tool and there's. A lot of, there's. A lot of mistakes with them right now and these, mistakes are causing, negative. Negative. Externalities, they're causing negative consequences. But the right approach is not if. We, agree that it's faith at its head that it's trying to measure the right thing but it's measuring it in. And the right approach is not to to. Redirect, this, to something else it's. To figure out how to measure it better is, to fix the indices fix the way that we're measuring in the way that we're, understanding. Well-being. I just would be much more skeptical, about measuring. Emotional. States in this way but hmm. I mean it's worthwhile saying two things one is that if you look at measuring emotional, states it was a very famous experiment, done where they. Administered. A one. Of these well-being surveys, essentially, these happiness, surveys one. Group just got the survey and they were asked to do some photocopying, they did some photocopying, and there filled out the survey another. Group was asked to do some photocopying but they'd put a dollar bill on the on the photocopy they got the photocopy was like oh yeah we've got the dollar bill and the group who got the dollar bill said, that there are a lot happier so what does this teach, us it's, like a chance event can affect all of this data which we get down to these very small fluctuations. So that's.
One Thing right so it's down to chance events but the other thing is that, you. Know there's been hundreds. Actually thousands, of studies using, you know these standardized, tests, and they're correlated, with a whole bunch of staff and it you know according to most social, science standards, they there's, a series, of standardized, surveyed, tools now which would stack up fairly, well but, the, with the note of caution that, they are subjective, assessments, they can be knocked off by chance encounters. And. And. So. They're worthwhile data, but. It's always worthwhile taking it with a little grain of salt I think yeah. And I think we've been talking a lot so a lot about the data right the sort of collection of these things and if you understand it's done by different actors with different interests to different. Levels let's say of success. Or good. Intentions, but I think the other side of it is how it's why is it popular how is it being used and, by whom and, in this case I think the. Conversation, was happening here was interesting and I wonder Anna if you know some examples we talked about how sort of when you see the more ordinary way that these things are being used not in Santa Monica and. And if there's maybe a downside that you've seen yeah yeah. I mean I think, connected. With the. Happy. City is the healthy, City and the. Two can often be quite interchangeable. And then the other big. Connection. Is the productive, City. So. There. Are two big agendas, there in the UK which are very. Sort, of you know mainstream, policy, and, with regard to the healthy, City you. Know which is of course a fine objective, it's a bit like you know who wouldn't want to be happy who wouldn't want to live in a in a healthy City so you know people are encouraged, to walk to work and you, know to live in carbon. Neutral, buildings, or you know buildings coming up to whatever standard, it is and to have X amount of public space near them etc so. You know the Olympic, Village for example, was built to you, know all of these standards, and is supposed to tick all the boxes for, being like a really, really healthy. Environment. And yet, round the corner from the Olympic Village which, is also. Privatized. Sort, of semi gated, environment, you know you've got some of the pockets of greatest, poverty in. In, in London, you know massive food bank use you know really low levels you know terrible housing. Conditions. So how, on earth has. Meeting. All the healthy City. Requirements. Done, anything, to address, actually. A healthy, situation, in. That part of East London nothing. At all and not only that it's, provided. A whole, load of tick box fig leaves to say oh we've done it when, you look at which, cities, score the highest on happiness, its cities, with the, lowest levels of inequality so, it's not the happiness survey you, know it's the inequality, survey, but that's not what the. People commissioning. Those surveys, they're actually, after finding, that's one example another. Example I know that you've, looked at as well Andrae, is very. Much around the getting. People back into work sending. Them on happiness, courses. I mean I've come across some really shocking. Stuff in, my research so, for example. Residents. Of a housing estate which, was due to be demolished who. Were all you know, devastated. About this and you, know up in arms about it were, offered. Happiness, courses. What oh yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Well. You know kind, of learn to deal with what's, happening, to you make the best of it I mean. It's very much part to, my mind and this is solving well and this is why I take, quite. A strong, line with. Regard to a, lot of this material because, this is where I've, encountered, it, you, know and if you are out of work you know a job seeker you will be sent on. Cognitive. Behavior, therapy. Motivational. / happiness. Type courses. To get you into a you. Know the right mindset, to, be a productive. Worker you, know and this stuff has quite a long lineage, you know it used to be called cow psychology. You know get people into the right frame of mind so that they you know no longer mind being a chef we're we're based in Vancouver Vancouver keep. Stopping all of the, world's quality. Of life surveys, etc etc and, you. Look at the downtown, Center which people. Come from all over the world specially urban planners to see how, well Vancouver, has done it but, then walk, a little bit East to, the Downtown, East Side and you, will see the poorest. Bo box, in Canada. At the, heart of Vancouver. With. So, much homelessness. So, much mental illness, it's. Almost kind, of tiring to, try, and. And. And, and tell, people who. Are coming, to look at the glamour to. Also look at what's real look at what's happening Vancouver, right now.
Provides. The quality of life but, most people cannot afford to live in it so, I think we're in agreement that I mean happiness is a good ideal happiness, is a is a worthwhile goal but. The way it's been measured right now has. Left. Out. Communities. Communities. That that we need really. Cities communities societies, need to focus on the most to invest. In the most and, have. A feeling, that with. People doing research like this uncovering. The, layers of, happiness. The layers of web and how it's affecting. Different societies, how can we make sure that it goes to the people that need it the most some just building on these I mean you've, been saying. Just, that the, way we are measuring happiness, is basically wrong not. Wrong, I mean there I mean we, okay. But but I mean with the research. Of the exhibition we kind of found. You know many, many kind of a conditions, were basically, these, kind, of a way of measuring happiness has produced kind of a side effect you know has produced kind of a, actually. A lot of contradictions, of problems instead of I was just wondering you at the EPI City which is which is the, strategy. Then you use to kind of a track. Or collect, the data or the behaviors, that you think it's a kind of law so, to clarify we. We are not happiness, scientists, we don't we, don't collect. Nation. Once wide surveys, on what makes people happy we, rely on the research on the surveys and etc that's being done and we, try to what. Kind of studies. Are doing the. Behavioural studies that we're doing are looking, at how people experience space, how, people's. Psychological. And physiological reactions. To urban space so, for example, it's, showing, that people, walking, in front of a building that has a blank facade that's a facade with like no windows, no doors just, nothing to see nothing to to. View tend. To actually feel, more stress they, walk faster, they, physically, walk faster, they're less likely to, stop. Less likely to hang around less likely to help someone in need as opposed. To people who are walking in front of active edges we're talking about like. Frontages. With, more. Windows more doors people, coming in and out you know life, urban life the, same, relationships. Are showing that that physical, environment, affects. How people. Care. For each other how people react to how people connect, with each other effects, their behavior, I've. Actually done quite a lot of work around security. And, fear, and happiness, and I'd. Be really interested to know if you've looked at the, impact of high security on, how, people, respond. Because I think that's a really, critical, area. And it's. Quite amazing that there's hardly, any research, on it.
I Mean it's partly because the security, industry funds. A lot of the research so. They're unlikely, to fund research showing, that actually, CCTV. Everywhere doesn't. Make you feel safer, it makes you feel more scared there, are one or two studies, but literally that's, it. But I think I think that's a critical area. For cities. Well post-industrial, cities, especially. With widening, inequalities. Where people, are you, know essentially. Barricading. Themselves in, safe spaces, and, actually. That's making, us very insecure. And, hence unhappy. In the environment, I think the other thing so one of the other things we know for certain is that. People's. Social. Networks, determine. How long they're going to live whether, they're gonna die of a horrible disease, and also what their kind of happiness or well-being is, and, if we look at the evolution, of urban spaces and, even just look at children moving around an urban spaces what do you see well, grandfather's. Generation they, could walk 10 miles away from home father's, generation, 2 miles away son's. Generation, they could walk one mile away and then the. Baby. Well, their child is not even allowed to go to the front gate anymore, right what, does this do to people's social networks it, closes. Them in and they, become reliant on the fast smaller group, of people and that, does a few things number one is it means, that they have these very atrophied. Social networks the second thing is that they begin to then put a huge, amount of emphasis, on just a few people right and then when that relationship breaks, down which it often does. That's. Screwed, yeah, and, we're, seeing research that that, links. Some of what you're saying for example can. Predict, the, strength of social relationships, in the community by. How, many people, walk bike, or take transit, to, work because. When, you.
Leave. Your your, home on foot. Slowly. On at, a slow speed you are more likely to stop and have, a conversation with. Someone in your street or even like you even the first time you recognized in the second time they become familiar over and over and eventually you will strike up a conversation but. Right now people are getting like especially, in North America and this is not as relevant for the British context, people get into their car inside their garage head, out to work yeah no one's gonna like slam, their brakes to. Say hi that. Doesn't happen and so we're seeing yeah a plight. Of. Social. Relationships. Are. Breaking. Up commuting. Distances, are becoming, incredibly. Long. That. People are this, isn't this isn't a conversation about, happiness. And happy. Cities and happiness, indices, it's actually a conversation, about mental. Health crisis, and loneliness, I think, it's all related I mean, why. Is loneliness bad loneliness is bad because social. Relationships, make people happy when you connect, with, people with, good, positive social relationships. Make. Us feel good I'll. Tell you a funny little story of happiness. Which, would particularly, British people will hate but. There, was a study which was done at the University of Chicago on, people going on public transport, right this guy was sitting on this tube the subway one day and he thought okay. Why. Don't people talk to each other on the subway and, he then, did, an experiment, we. Basically, sends people out and half of the group go out and just ride the subway and the other half forced. To talk with people right. And they think they predict, how happy, will I be after I talk with someone and most people will think oh I'm gonna be miserable it's gonna be awful data but, actually they ended up far more happy, after, they had conversations. With randoms, on the on the subway which I know most, people would hate to do right, the idea, of sounds, scary. You know I, think to most people for. Me actually not so much because I grew up I grew up in Cairo yeah, Egyptians.
Have A knack, for just being, very having. A culture that's very social, and very forthcoming it. Is very rare that someone would walk into a space that's filled with people and wouldn't, just like make a general, general. Greet. To everyone, and people tend, to actually, respond and, even. That basic connection, yeah actually, really matters, and. We're. Talking about social isolation we're, talking about mental illness and I, think these are all things that are associated with, negative emotions. And. Are opposite, to things that make us feel positive. Emotions which. In you. Know in general kind of contributes. To the sense of longer. Term, happiness. I'm sure we all agree about all, of that but, it's just that when policymakers. Try. To, instrumentalize. Around, happiness. Then. I think they start to come at it from quite, different, directions I totally agree I think you made an interesting point actually to, help this. Is there's this point of an is when, you've brought compare London and Cairo because once, these things start to become instrumentalized. If we agree that this social contact, is good for people over happy, I mean here you're talking about to context, where you, know how do you intervene in some sort of standardized, way in, these two cultural contexts that are so different that would respond so differently to someone arriving on the tube and saying hi to everyone right. I mean it to me it really challenges, this idea that we can start to arrive at standards, or, rules that can be applied and, I think that's that's sort of the other side of the rankings that we haven't been talking about so much yet is the guides now you I've done quite a lot of work on Business. Improvement Districts. Which. Run, parts. Of the city companies. Which run parts the city they, have, ambassadors. Who. Are effectively, private, security, guards, and they, keep places, clean and safe that's, like their mantra, and all, of this actually. Is rolled out as part, of a cleaner greener, happier. City, environment, but, like you said at the beginning you know spontaneity. Chance. Encounters. Actually. Sort of slight element of risk uncertainty. You, know that's all part of city. Life and what, this increasingly. Controlled. Urban. Environment, has men is a lot of the, space for those chance encounters actually. Has gone and that's, creating. A city environment, which is also far, higher security, much more surveillance, which. Goes. Under the banner of being. A happier, and safer place but, actually is quite the opposite, so that's when it starts to get quite muddied, and the policymakers will be saying we're creating, a happier City for you but, the experience, of it is quite, the opposite, you know you're talking about the aspirations or the goals. It's. Nick kind, of impossible to have one Universal, set of goals, and aspirations given. The you. Know the joy of a you. Know abstract. Adira City is that it's always going to be different. To, the next city or wherever it is and that surely what, makes. A city or urban life a, good. Thing sort of ultimately, so having you know say Business. Improvement Districts. And say a part of London you know those the template in the ways those work might not work in areas of Montreal, or in parts of Honolulu, or like wherever you are but. Other things that work in Honolulu, you. Know would be irrelevant somewhere, else and surely it's kind of this kind of idea of being thoughtful and not being too universe, and blanket, about things because I think that's where the fig leaf does come in then is that oh well, so-and-so did here and it worked fine for them we'll just say we're doing it with Chuck money at it and you. Know we'll be off the hook - it's. Just so much more interesting, and thoughtful like, the Santa Monica example. I think you. Know that they were being very thoughtful about this in a city that was far more affluent, and, far more mixed, and kind of lots of other corners, of the u.s. part. Of what we're finding and working with cities and this is something that I. Think, is a little different in Canada as it is in the UK is that Canada had to deal with issues, of. Diversity. Having. A very diverse population most, people in Canada can trace their their, their, lineage to another country. Within six generations, or so and so, have had to, find. Ways of bringing people together involving. People on the process involving very different voices, in the process, compared. To European. Countries, and how they've done, so and one, of the things that, that we're finding in our work is that.
When. People are involved. In the decision-making process when. They feel like they have a sense of a. Say. In how. Their, community is being created. They. Tend to feel more ownership. Of their community more belonging to their community, connected. And that. Actually makes them feel happier and so, when we work with a developer, we. Tell them to actually like leave, this. Part empty. Just, set aside money for it don't build it yourself and, when people start moving in let. Them build it themselves and, whatever. They choose it's. Theirs, they own it and and. That is important, and and, I think that that fits in, the. The, equity, and the inclusion, conversation. Of, you. Know not. Making assumptions, of what people want. Giving. Up our I'm, surprised, that you're developers. In Canada, would like leave a large piece of real estate empty. For, communities. To pop in space not the public. Space okay, yeah. I. Mean the problem, we have and you know I don't, know the Canadian, context, but I do know, a little bit about you, know affordability. Problems. And the housing crisis, in Canadian, cities so I can't imagine it's like a million miles away but. The problem that we have a lot is the, consultation. And, participation is. A huge. Thing and it goes without saying communities. Have to be consulted, they have to be a really big part of everything and they, completely aren't, you know it is a complete, con on the whole so. Of course, you, know it should be the opposite, we just have all the, rhetoric of which. Some, of this discussion is, a part of and the reality, for, Communities is, one. Of displacement. I think, this one is a really interesting question though is that this, sort of liberation, of data has, an, era you, know science, and objectivity, about it and how are we supposed to deal with sort of pseudo. Objective, data democratically. Well would you mean by democratic, well if you're if you're being let's say as a city being told this is what research, shows you, know this is the science why just think is rubbish I'm on the whole I don't it's interesting to discuss, happiness. It's interesting to discuss, inequality. In the city but, I don't think there, is scientific. Data. Over. This I wouldn't consider that. To be plausible. And I. Also don't think this, kind of democratic. Consultation. That, you, might be sort of hoping, to have takes. Place in very. Many cities, I'm not saying it doesn't take place anywhere, you, know it might take place in, some of our happiest. Scandinavian. Countries. Where. You know participation. And democratic, inclusion, is really on a much higher level but it doesn't take place where I'm, coming, from yeah.
But I think there's also something, about you know the. Agenda. Today, somehow is behind so the set of values that are also kind of a listed. Or you know, part. Of this big. Survey, that, I think it's interesting to examine so. Everything. That is connected to let's, say wellness, is really, pushed to the front so going, to the, discussion, about I mean. Which is you, know good. For the collective, in the relation between you know with the individuals, I've feeling. That you know all this sort of a big, discussion, about happiness is actually producing a discourse you know it's not about social. Transformation. But individualism. Somehow, I don't know Andray you want to comment on this so this is a big, concern that I have when we talk about participation. And the. Collective because then you know there are all these specific cases where this is kind of a successfully. Pursued. But then in the end it's, a big compulsory, series of questions, that are inching, the individuals, so one way to kind of answer that is to say I've spent a lot of time studying the workplace, right and if you look at kind of happiness interventions. In the workplace, you have these kind of happiness one, point of interventions, let's call that like let's get a fun, Salton turn and it's let's have. Some you know like, theater. Play or play with Lego or you know something like that for. One hour a day let's, do some meditation for, one hour a day and then you go back to you, seeing a highly stressful, extremely. Insecure job, and we've. Realized increasingly. That that doesn't work it doesn't stop employers, from doing that but doesn't necessarily work all the time you know a little bit of meditation or mindfulness is, good for anxiety sure, but you. Know on the whole, what. Tends, to make people happier, or whatever more engaged or all those kind of good things at work are, actually structural stuff like having a fairly secure job you, know not having an a-hole as a boss you know, that you're not gonna die of stress or get, crushed to death at work but you know very Spacek, structural things getting paid fairly those. Sort of things so, if you want to. Just. To go back to the individual. And collective, point I mean do, you find. Evidence. That, effective. Teams. Groups. That seem to work more effectively. Are. More. Fulfilled, I don't want to use the happiness word. Yes. So there's there's loads of research which shows that sort, of if you have if you have a team who works more effectively together they, tend to they tend to you know have higher say employee engagement scores, or, you know fulfilment of work or self efficacy all, of those kind of measures of what happiness might be so, then you have to ask the question what makes a team fulfilled at work and there's a whole bunch of explanations, of that but, one of the things which we increasingly, realize, is this idea about this ability to. Kind. Of to speak up basically. Or have your voice heard in small, and big ways right, so, let me give you an example of how this can have very practical. Business implications. So in. 2007. Nokia. Corporation. Was developing. Its first smartphone, I mean it already really developed smartphone technology, but it was developing its first big smart phone it knew that the Apple iPhone was coming right and they had fairly good idea and. Then they were developing this extremely, crap operating, system called Symbian, if you remember, it and, the, people who were developing at the engineers, in Nokia. In Finland, was very happy country knew. It was rubbish as well and then. They went to their bosses further, up and they said this doesn't work and the, bosses yelled, at them and shouted them a scene well you don't tell us negative. Stuff we, just want to hear positive things right, if, you tell us negative things your eye your division is going to get closed down or you're you.
Know Going to be retarded in your work and, so, people will quickly learn not to say anything negative so. They just said, positive stuff and as a result the symbian process, went for about a year longer than it should have they. Launched this first phone it was, rubbish, and, then it took them quite too long to re-up, right on Kevin exactly. And, this, kind of speaks to this fundamental, lesson, is for, people to be fulfilled and happy at work and half their organizations survive and thrive, you'd need them to be able to speak up not just about positive stuff but also say something of stuff I think I think for me in, all the work, I've done with, communities. Actually. Having, your voice heard is the, same you. Know that would. Equate, to me and with, so, many aspects, of life you know in all, sorts of work I've done and, in my own life you know where, you feel that you have the opportunity, to. Be heard is, as. Important. As anything. Really. And, like the story of cities and where cities have come from and I think it's important to recognize, where cities have come from to where they are today and the city, building, process, not. Too long ago was. The city building process dictated. Very. Much so from a top-down approach where. You have, big. Thinkers, our, their city officials, or influential. Architects. Make. Their own assumptions, on what. Cities are supposed to be like on what people, should want, or. People ought to have in a city and what. You had was major. City. Transformations. That were on. The, whole quite, negative, and we're talking about for example Robert, Moses, and his, influence. On New York City was, an example of that very much top-down approach where he would go to a community that generally. Low income assume. That, what they need to, to, to be better. To be moved into cleaner, better, safer. Housing. The same narrative that is sometimes still being used today. And. That, the way to fix that is to tear down these communities, and move, these people and that when, that happened, it has it has had horrific. Circumstance. And it kept going until people. Decided. That they have had enough and they, stood up to Robert Moses and that, was the beginning of it of a different way of city, building well that's the that's the Jane Jacobs narrative. And there is a counter, narrative. Which. Would be along, the lines of you, know that's very much the preserve, of a sort of more affluent, higher. Income. Community. Which is able to come together and, express, itself effectively. In that sort of way but. You know the way I see what's been happening in a city like London actually, is that, development. And the way the city's organized is utterly, top-down. With. The, difference, perhaps that, actually is not architects, who are. Running. Municipalities. Its developers. I think. You're at your, most. Correct is. That. Cities. Have very much not. Gotten, to where they need to go yet, and there's, still not. Enough involvement. And actually a lot of public engagement that happens today is very, much token, public, engagement, they. Put. Engagement. Sessions on weekday. Evenings, we're really the only people that are actually able to attend these are tend. To be wealthier, white. And male. And people. From. Low-income communities, like a mother, with kids is not going to be able to attend a public, engagement session, and then the people that come to, these engagement, sessions tend, to get their voices heard, and the, influence, decision-making that's, some of it but.
Actually You know some of the, places. That I've looked at it's that way worse than that you know I mean it's completely a case of democratic. Failure. Consultations. Will end on you, know Christmas, Eve. Announcements. Won't be made you. Know they'll be act, packing, planning, meetings, they'll be fake letter-writing, campaigns. I mean we're talking democratic. Failure and it's, a democratic, failure actually that's been followed up in central. Government as well you, know democracy in the UK and in, the u.s. as far as I can see perhaps. Not in Canada so much you know is in crisis, so that's part of the agenda that. We're talking about I would go even a little bit further and say that part of it is about the construction of a narrative and a counter narrative that to resist someone like Moses is fairly easy you can write that story lots of people have but, to resist sort of the market operating in cities or to, bring it back to what we're talking about the idea of happiness is, a much more difficult political, problem. It is a difficult discourse. And I think and I think that the the the. Process of changing. Have any change any change of a major system always, comes with new problems, right you, you, you you make big changes to avoid problems that you have you, the, changes, implemented and you figure out that you have new problems and and that's the that's the that's the the, cycle of change you, generated, industry, somehow. The. Problem of a small business is getting more business and then when they get a lot of business then their problem is well how do I deliver the products, and they grow the team then they're, probably just comes back to, the same point I don't think that, this is a new process I think it's a reframing, of the previous, process, but, now cities. Have. To, engage the public they are doing it badly but. In most countries, there, is an expectation, that. The public will be involved, and that it has not always been the case I am. Egyptian. In Egypt. The public is very much not involved, their, opinions, are not heard I think, it's important, to contextualize, the. Progress. That has happened and, recognize. That it has mistakes, and that, requires, us being transparent, and how we are assessing. Our success and how we are measuring things like happiness I will, poke holes in some of the in the, indices, that, you, know don't, show well how how, did I reach this assumption, and that, process, of criticism. Process of being. Transparent of how we are making decisions being. Transparent of why we're making decisions and then opening, it up for I just follow the real progress. Unfortunately. I asked. I think that it's not clear that that change in Egyptian. Society or, politics, has anything to do with happiness agenda, what do you mean what change well. That now citizens in Cairo expect, to be no. I think that's relating to countries. Take. London which, is the city that I grew up in in. 1979. Everybody. In London, had a home. Today. We have like, you know a massive, massive. Housing. Crisis, so, I can't. See how we can, be talking about progress, I mean. You know when we have the enormous, wealth inequalities. That we, have in London. At the moment how. We can talk about progress on the basis, of local. Authorities, having, to do. Consultations. With. Local. Communities, which you know on the whole they don't do but the fact that they're supposed to do them that seems really marginal to me and actually an example, of how this.
Can You know this whole sort of discussion, can be seen as a good, thing when really it is masking. A. Democratic. Collapse. Not, wanting to be you know extreme. Here would you have a solution to, say because I mean I feel to frame that well London. In the 70s, you know everybody. Had a home well. We're not in the 70s anymore and you know the world has more people in their cities have more people in it I think. I feel as though if you look at what, I was trying to say is that the post-war, period. You, know the the 30 years, from, the war to, 1980. The. Post-war. Consensus. Provided. A lot, of benefits, for. Western. Society. And we've started over, the last 40, years those, have been unraveled. And, that. Is now creating. A huge, crisis, for us and a, lot of this rhetoric is, masking. That, sis so, you, talked about the city that you were born and raised in I live in a city that I wasn't born and raised and I moved to Toronto four, and a half years ago something, that struck me, really. Kind of quite quickly was that for a city. As big as Toronto is, there. Seems to be a really, acute sense of people being engaged with, their, lives in, relation, to the city so it might seem like a small example but you know people relieve things they don't want anymore. In their house they leave on the street and, I feel as though in London you wouldn't touch that stuff, probably do. You do that a bit more now yeah in Toronto, it's very very common I mean half my house is going to furnish and stuff like that it's really nice stuff and you know I leave stuff too and you see people picking through leafing through books and it's a real sort of engagement, with. The neighborhood, and with the streets that you're in they sort of post, Jane Jacobs kind, of middle-class, maybe, I don't think it only happens in the middle-class neighborhoods, I don't live in a working-class neighborhood but, I live, in a neighborhood that has changed pretty dramatically, saying, even the four years that I've sort of been there if I was moving to Toronto now, I probably couldn't afford to live there but I could for years again I can now. I feel, as though you. Know if, isn't. Half the battle that you know if you don't really care about kind, of the little patch that you live in then, no, matter what the city says no matter what the, index. Whatever. Body can have draws up then actually, if you don't really care about where you live if you're not going to leave, a treasured, book that you don't want anymore anymore, leave it on the sidewalk for someone else to have a go you. Know I don't know I feel as though that's kind of half there I completely. Agree with you but I don't think that's got anything to do with indices. Or you. Know anyone telling you to do that you, know places work you know we know that some places work and people become attached to them and they. Don't work as well if you are told to do it so I guess my question to you is kind, of how you, know where that sort of comes. From if if say you know meetings are being filled with actors, or if you know people are just totally, shooting, down a sort, of dark alley trying. To make it look like they're making program making, lives better and happier for people you. Know is there a way you can create a sense of so. Attachment, where people would just do it on their own I suspect. Like I say that, you. Live, in a nice. Gentrified. Area. Sure, and I do too, and that, stuff happens where I live as well and I. Think it comes down to the, social networks, and awful. Phrase social, capital, you know of the place where you live whether or not there's enough resources, you. Know how people mix together, that's. When that stuff happens yeah, I think that that's kind of a the question that's emerging from this is if access sort of social solidarity or. Other responses, to the many challenges, we've been discussing facing, cities, have anything to do with this agenda and that's kind of what the question I want to ask maybe the table is after having gone through some of these issues, do we think that their happiness agenda, the sort of new science, or pseudoscience, and these, new kind of tools and are really useful for, dealing with some of the challenges that we're talking about so, I I think that, the lesson that I have taken away from doing, research on this and listening to the conversation, today is to say that making. These kind of micro interventions, I certainly someone on a Happiness courses, often adding, insult to injury but.
If You really want to make people happy you address the basic structural, problems, about things like add green spaces make. Sure you listen to people, make sure there's public housing, for people who can't afford. Make. Sure commuting, times aren't too long get rid of cars from everywhere, those, are things which we know they're, kind of blindingly, obvious so, then the question becomes well, it's, how, do we mobilize to make sure those things happen and and, I think that happens, when you when you really shift the conversation, towards. What matters most what, matters most of people. Things. That matter most, are. Affordable. Housing having a home that's that that's the the, feeling, of nita shelters is a basic, human need. Recognizing. That the need for shelter is a. Foundational. Element of happiness. Requires. Cities, to, refocus, their investments, refocus, their efforts to. Do everything, they can, to, tackle that, educating. The public informing. The public that. Things, like affordability, are. A threat, to. Our democratic, society are a threat, to to. Our humanity, and our. Breeding. Grounds, for for. Things like crime, mental, illness etc, etc. That. Is an, important. Step to, forcing, decision-makers. To, answer, and respond, to the to the struggles, of people's. Daily lives and. I think that the happiness agenda, has a role to play in that in shifting. The conversations. From buzzwords, to. The things that really matter I think you only really is going to have a role to play in that if it becomes overtly, political in. The way that you've just spelt out and at, the moment it, is very apolitical. And, therefore, it acts in, the opposite, way, I kind. Of agree actually and I think and. I think it comes what. You're saying is that. The. Happiness conversation. Has been has, been focused, on things, that, are not related to how our political systems. Worked hard democracy, work - how decision-making, processes, work in the city it's, being focused, more on, individualistic. Self-help. Books. That. That. That as you, said add insult, to injury they. They ignore, the. Real systemic. Barriers, to. Human wellbeing to. Happiness and, they. Only, try to convince. People, that. Progress is being done when, it's not being done the core of our debate, is is. That, is that the solution, to that is not, I believe, it's not to throw the happiness agenda, out altogether but, it's to redefine, what it means, sorry I asked, I'm gonna ask a quick question what, would be the one intervention, you, would all make to make cities happier. Invest. In public transit and ensure, people, have, an affordable. Place to live, stop. Tracking, behavioral. Data. Abolish. Private property. I want. To say based. On Toronto's, Public, Library Network I think honestly, libraries. Have. Been reimagined there, and. Should. Be reimagined in cities, elsewhere I think it's a really excellent example. Of how it, could be a part, of the fabric of life, whatever. Part of the city. Society, you live it I will answer the question by saying reboot. Democracy. Through, radical political change. So. Thank. You very much, I think it was. A great end and I think we have a material for, another, research, and other public program and other exhibition. Thank, you thanks a lot thank you thank. You thank, you.