Where we’re coming from
Since 2016, Happy Cities (formerly Happy City) has been researching the keys to addressing the loneliness crisis in multi-unit buildings. We now know that planning and housing design decisions can make or break social connections, elevate or reduce health and happiness, foster inclusion or deepen disconnection. Our team of experts in housing design and social connectedness have identified unexplored challenges and opportunities to work toward systemic change.
In 2017, Happy City created and publicly released the Happy Homes (HH) Toolkit, complete with design and programming actions to boost sociability in multi-unit buildings. The following year, Happy City convened housing practitioners to address the barriers to implementing HH recommendations. This resulted in a practical guide called Designed to Engage.
The project inspired Concert Properties and the City of Vancouver to pilot social programming in rental buildings. HH was instrumental in the design of TOMO, the first “co-housing light” development in Vancouver.
Happy Cities has also helped numerous developers implement best practices for affordability and sociability in their communities. Now that they have been implemented, the team will test the design and programming actions, creating data that reveals how they affect social connectedness and wellbeing.
Previous contributors to this project include Paty Rios and Bryan Wong.