Health and happiness (part 2)

A bit more about Action for Happiness’s keys to happiness:

  1. Giving: Do things for others
  2. Relating: Connect with people
  3. Exercising: Take care of your body
  4. Appreciating: Notice the world around you
  5. Trying out: Keep learning new things
  6. Direction: Have goals to look forward to
  7. Resilience: Find ways to bounce back
  8. Emotion: Try to take a positive approach
  9. Acceptance: Learn to be comfortable with yourself
  10. Find meaning: Become a part of something bigger

Their website has numerous suggestions of how to take action for happiness and details of groups and events. I particularly like the posters and have used them at work. The resilience poster resonates with me: “If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it”.

Nationally, the UK Office for National Statistics has been collecting data on personal wellbeing since 2012. A summary of the most recent findings (2015) can be found in the wellbeing section of the ONS website. These found that reported personal wellbeing has been increasing year on year between 2012 and 2015, though there is some debate about how subjective this might be.

At a local level, at NW Bicester, the first phase of the eco-town being built to the original PPS1 eco-town standards is also an endorsed One Planet Community. This means that it has a One Planet Action Plan setting out targets and actions for each One Planet Living Principle.  This OPAP has been reviewed and approved by Bioregional.

A2Dominion is the lead developer for the first phase, Elmsbrook (previously known as the Exemplar) and later phases. The first residents are due to move in in 2016.

For the Health and happiness principle at Elmsbrook, the 2013 One Planet Action Plan for NW Bicester states:

” The Exemplar makes commitments to foster happier, stronger communities where residents can have more time for friends and family, exercising and being outdoors, getting to know their neighbours, feeling safer and more connected to where they live and the surrounding environment.”

This will be achieved by:

  • “Building a healthy community which supports convenient eco-lifestyles
    • Building exercise into people’s lives by making ‘active transport’ the norm
    • Providing information on and access to healthy eating
    • All homes to meet Lifetime homes standards and ‘Building for Life’ Silver, determined principles of ‘Secure by Design’ and ‘Community Streets’
    • All homes to have excellent levels of daylighting; with an ADF factor between 2 and 5 in all habitable areas
    • Excellent air quality and ventilation via natural ventilation in summer, MVHR in winter
    • Use of non-toxic finishes and minimal VOC eco-paints
    • Super-insulated buildings that stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer
  • Creating a ‘Community Development Strategy’
    • A2Dominion to work with all partners to build a strong sense of community at NW Bicester
    • Achieved through welcome events and activity days
    • Encouraging street parties and ‘get to know your neighbour’ evenings
    • Facilitating the formation of new Community Action Groups through Shimmy
    • Establish annual community events such as green Olympics
    • Work with the skills, knowledge and interests of residents to build a unique identity for the site
  • Feeling connected; promoting accessibility and inclusion
    • Via the in-home Shimmy device residents will feel connected to all the activities, events, services and support available
    • A2Dominion will deliver an ex-servicemen social enterprise project
    • Diversity amongst community groups in the area to be promoted
    • Links with existing organisations in Bicester town to be built
  • Building for the future: ensuring climate change adaptation
    • Site planning to mitigate against flood risks
    • Innovative research and modelling as part of a TSB project undertaken in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University investigated a range of adaptation measures to be applied to buildings, for a range of scenarios up to 2080
    • Energy strategy makes possible 100% generation on site ensuring future energy security”

There will be regular monitoring and reporting at NW Bicester to inform later phases of the development and other projects.