Episode: #29 The Happiness Research Institute: "A Human-Centered Approach" to Smart Cities

Guests:  Catarina Lachmund, Senior Analyst, and Camilla Michalski, Data Analyst at the Happiness Research Institute


Find transcript here


Summaries of Key Takeaways:  

  • Happiness Research Institute Introduction: Catarina and Camilla describe their roles and the institute's mission to study happiness, well-being, and quality of life.
  • Measuring Happiness: They discuss the methodologies for quantifying happiness and the reliability of this data for informing policy decisions.
  • Happiness in Urbanism: Insights into how urban environments impact citizen happiness and the significance of designing cities with well-being in mind.
  • Technology's Impact: Exploration of whether technology in cities contributes to or detracts from citizens' happiness.
  • Advice for the Public and Private Sectors: Recommendations for incorporating happiness metrics into planning and decision-making processes in both sectors.


“To you, what is a Smart City?”

Catarina Lachman: “I think for me, a smart city is a city where everyone is happy. So the kids are happy, the pensioners are happy, the newly arrived are happy, and that where the city enables and welcomes people to connect with each other outside their bubble and eventually like their, their neighborhoods slash their socioeconomic, uh, statuses. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that for me is a happy city.” 

Camilla Michalski: “Yeah. Yeah, I agree with that. I think the, when I think smart, I think also that's a city that maybe removed barriers or, uh, made it very easy for, to give voice to residents so that they can actually dictate, uh, you know, what kind of decisions are made in their cities to improve their lives. So I think a smart city is, um, an engaged city and a city that, that listens to people and, um, has, uh, different amenities set up so that those voices can be heard."