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Added 14 April, 2014

Gross National Happiness index is spreading to global cities

Several years ago the country of Bhutan garnered worldwide attention with their novel decision to measure their country's wealth not by Gross National Product, but by Gross National Happiness, an index that looks beyond money to things that are more closely related to a sense of wellbeing. After all, the best things in life are free. Now a new initiative lead by the American city of Santa Monica is extending this concept to monitor various aspects of wellbeing throughout the city – including comfort, employment, security, and health – then using that data to guide public policies. The goal of the Wellbeing Project is to create a standardized index by 2015 that can be used by municipalities throughout the world to better understand their civic health. Over time, cities and towns will be able to accurately measure areas in which they are improving or failing, compare themselves to one another and allocate funds to areas that need improvement. From a trends perspective, we are continuing to see wealthy areas of the world change the way they perceive luxury, moving from the voracious acquisition of material goods to the collection and protection of meaningful experiences. The Wellbeing Project fits nicely into this trend.

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