Happy City is an initiative created to drive nationwide happiness, one city at a time, through a number of community projects with measurable outcomes.

Happy City is the brainchild of Liz and Mike Zeidler. “We’ve been both been passionate about addressing social and environmental issues since forever” says Mike. “The day we met, we talked until 2am about how we thought things could change.”

Liz and Mike have been building up to this throughout their careers, with masters degrees in Responsible Business and in International Development, experience bringing partnerships (between public, private and voluntary sectors) to life at city scale, facilitation, leadership, PR, cultural development, inter-cultural dialogue – the list goes on. “The thing which holds it all together, making sense of the big picture” says Mike, “is an understanding of systems and the way they work.”

Seeing few initiatives addressing the root causes of today’s social and environmental issues in an effective and systemic way, Liz and Mike worked on a concept paper to clarify their thinking and bring their idea to life. They consulted with people from all kinds of backgrounds to test their thinking, and then set about presenting their ideas to gather an advisory board and the resources they needed to get going in practice. With little funding in place to begin with, Liz and Mike have continued to carry out consulting work through their firm Modoto which they founded in 2004.

The first city to get the Happy treatment is Simpleweb’s hometown, Bristol, and we couldn’t be happier to be involved. We’re working with Happy City to create an application for collecting data that will make up the Happy City Index, the world’s first city-wide live measure of happiness and wellbeing. The Index will be used by local authorities and organisations to find out about residents’ wellbeing.

The Happy City Index combines the key ‘drivers’ of wellbeing (like health, the economy, culture and the environment) with key indicators of happiness (like relationships and our senses of belonging and purpose) to build a bigger picture of what really matters to communities. This data will be used to inform policy and authorities in the city to give the people of Bristol what they need to be truly happy. The application that Simpleweb will be building will make it easier and faster for people to participate in the Happy City Index and provide data that will help to make Bristol a better place.

“Ours is a radically simple plan to measure what matters in ways that work for everyone from the local street to the top of Whitehall” said Liz Zeidler, CEO of Happy City. “Over the past 5 years we’ve learned a great deal and it’s exciting to be developing the digital tools which will make it easier for everyone to get involved’.

If you want to help make Bristol a happier city, head on over to the Happy City Index website now to get involved.

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