Cities & Happiness

City, Nature, Happiness

Cold, fresh air, soft earth underneath my feet. In the morning I go jogging in the forest. On the fields the fog banks slowly disappear. At the turning point of my usual jogging-trail I can see a lake which appears to be as smooth as glass. A moment when nothing stirs in you and everything is quiet. It seems to be the perfect start into my day. I am relaxed, recharged, and happy thus I am able to challenge the city. A small town can be that idyllic. People seeking things which make them happy. It can be a wellness-weekend, a shopping tour or, as in my case, the morning run. Often this process is unconscious, meaning the person does not really consider: “does this or that make me happy?” It is more of an intermediate step which conveys warmth, benefits, satisfaction or simply well-being. The ultimate aim is to be happy.

Quality of living versus Happiness

Dr. Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn is a researcher at Rutgers University in New Jersey and explores happiness. He focuses on the correlation between happiness and place. Specifically, Okulicz-Kozaryn means: cities versus nature. Therefore the research question is: Where should people live to be happier? People looking for a place to live should consider if they think they will be happy there. Usually they weigh certain opportunities against each other. Is the city authentic, diverse, and multicultural or does the city offer different job opportunities? Thus the quality of living of a certain place plays an important role. The quality of living however cannot be equated with happiness. It is an objective assessment of the living conditions and this is not the same as happiness or the subjective perception. Different components like education, income or life expectancy, are indicators serving as a city´s objective assessment. The significance, however, is too limited to measure how happy people actually will be in a certain city. Generally the question arises: Should a person live in a city or a more rural location?

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  • Prof. Dr. Andrew Oswald Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
  • Prof. Dr. Ronnie Schöb Professor for International Public Economics, Free University Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Ruut Veenhoven Emeritus Professor Social Conditions of Human Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Prof. Dr. Carmelo Vazquez President of the International Positive Psychology association
  • Prof. Dr. Marc Hassenzahl Folkwang University Essen
  • Dr. Martijn Burger Academic Director Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation
  • Dr. Adam Okulicz Kozaryn Researcher Rutgers University
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