What is The Happy Community Project?

The Happy Community Project started when I was imagining the world for my granddaughter 30 years from now.

Today we are passing through the gates into an era of disruption. 30 years from now, my grandchildren are likely to be in the thick of it. They will likely be in a world where whatever we thought we knew yesterday provides little guidance for tomorrow. Where do the children of today find happiness tomorrow?

The Happy Community Project provides a process by which any community can increase its capacity for wellbeing and resiliency in an era of disruption.

A Tale of Two Communities

Once upon a time there were two towns, Happyville and Sadville. Both towns were similar in many ways. In the 1980s, they both believed that big business, big government and NGOs would take care of them. They were told their only responsibilities were to pay their taxes, follow the rules and then they would be free to pursue their personal happiness. Governments, business and NGOs told them “Don’t worry, if something bad happens, we have your back.”

For many years, this all seemed to be true and people worked, shopped and were happy. But then they started to notice somethings happening. There didn’t seem to be enough any more for education, health and potholes. They seemed to be busier then they used to be and along with it came stress and worry. Our personal information became public information to be used by business and government for their own reasons that weren’t always in our best interests.

With all the worry, stress and busy-ness, we had little time for getting to know our neighbors and so we started to become strangers living together. Most people had a house, car and vacation, but they could also see the stress cracks forming in what they used to count on as solid.

And then we entered the era of disruption.

Here is where Happyville and Sadville chose different courses. Sadville continued down the path demanding that government and business fix the problems. And of course government and business promised they would.

Happyville chose a different course. They decided that as citizens, they would make sure their community had what it needed to deal with whatever came along. Happyville implemented the Happy Community Process and built up their capacity to roll with punches and self determine the wellbeing of their community.

And then a disruption happened!

Guess which community came out the other end happier.

What is a Happy Community

Happiness is probably the most researched social science there is. And the research points out literally hundreds of variables that affect happiness. Many of these sources of happiness are short – term pleasure kicks that come from acquisition, winning and recognition.

A Happy Community’s citizens experience a more enduring happiness and includes ideas like contentment, joy and spiritual satisfaction.

When we sorted through all the research to find the factors that provide long term happiness, we came up with a short list of 5 factors.

Here is what we have determined that makes long term happiness.

  • Belonging
  • Meaning
  • Sufficiency
  • Security
  • Fairness

When someone can satisfy the basic human need of acceptance and belonging, when they can do things for the betterment of others and they have enough resources to provide the basics of shelter, clothing and education, when they can go to sleep at night without worry and when they have a sense of fairness represented by equal access to things like housing, food, education, public spaces and legal services; most people are content.

The Happy Community Project develops the foundation for all citizens in a community to experience this kind of happiness.

What Makes a Happy Community

Do we have sufficiency

Do we have enough?

Do others care about us

Do others care about us?

Do we have something meaningful to care about

Do we have something meaningful to care about?

Are we safe

Are we safe?

Social Connections Are The Foundation

A Happy Community is built on a foundation of strong social connections. When we know our neighbors or at least know that our neighbors know the strangers, the community builds trust, empathy and resiliency. In this environment, citizens can know that people take care of each other and this provides the basis for belonging, meaningful participation, confidence in sufficiency, trust in security and a sense of fairness.

So here is how a Happy Community is constructed from the ground up.

It has a geographic boundary. The research shows that wellbeing comes from being in an environment where you can physically shake a hand and look someone in the eye. We as humans need the physical contact with people to be happy and that can only happen when we are close to each other.

It has shared values and vision. The community may have broad diversity (the most resilient ones do), yet there are common values and identity that bind it together as one.

There are action points where citizens want to do things together. These action points have  a clear result objective where citizens have the opportunity to build strong social connections.

Social Connections are created by citizens doing things together. These action points are themselves connected together and in doing so, weaves a fabric of social connections throughout the community.

The community is connected to other communities. The community is not insular, but is itself connected to other communities that support its values and vision.

The Happy Community Project Works in All Communities

The Happy Community Project is a process that enables communities to build stronger social connections within the community. This increases its capacity for wellbeing and resiliency. It prepares the community to roll with the punches and come up smiling in an age of disruption.

The process works from the inside where citizens make the decisions and take the actions. As a result, the communities values, culture and identity are built into the process.

We provide the process, the community determines the outcome.

The Problem

In an age of busy-ness, stress, and competition, the social fabric of many communities is fraying.

I was talking with a colleague from Long Island New York who saw his community as a place to live and a supply depot for all the things he needed. He did not know his neighbors and never met anyone he knew when he went to the mall to pick up supplies. When he ran into troubles, he felt isolated, alone and afraid.

In Fort McMurray Alberta, 1/3 of the population needed psychological counselling after the fires. They did not know anyone who they could look to for emotional support.

The time to build resiliency and strength is before a disruption occurs. The happy Community Project provides a process for building strength through social connections within the community.

Our Vision

I believe we owe it to ourselves, our children and our grandchildren to provide Happy Communities. This is where we can find support and sanctuary in an age of disruption.

These communities have the capacity to provide a sense of belonging, meaning, sufficiency, security and fairness no matter what comes their way.

My vision is that every community in the world is a Happy CommunityWhy is Reshaping Our World Important?

How does this happen

The first step is step up and reach out to us.

Tell us about your community and we will share with you how you can bring The Happy Community Project to your community that best fits with you.

It can be a presentation/talk, a training program, an on-line program, or a facilitated program.

You will be part of Reshaping Our World doing what you do best – being at your best.

What can you do?

It’s simple – Start by telling us who you are.

Have a question? Reach out to us!


I want to get involved!