Tue 13-02-2018 15:27 PM

Smart Dubai presents ‘Happy Cities’ chapter in Global Happiness Policy Report

DUBAI, 13th February, 2018 (WAM) -- Dr. Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr, Director-General of the Smart Dubai Office, SDO, presented the chapter on happy cities from the Global Happiness Policy Report, issued by the World Happiness Council on the sidelines of the 6th World Government Summit, WGS 2018.

The Council had held a meeting at the Summit, attended by Ohoud bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future. The meeting looked into international success stories in various strategic sectors, where policies were set to empower cities and countries to ensure the happiness of their citizens.

Bearing the title "Happy Cities in a Smart World", the chapter is one of the seven main sectors covered by the World Happiness Council’s mandate. The Council is chaired by Jeffrey Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University, USA, and receives administrative support from the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The sectors include health, happiness, education, work environments, standards and indexes, and public policies, in addition to the "happy cities" sector, headed by Dr. bin Bishr.

At the World Happiness Council’s meeting, the head of each sector presented their own chapter. The chapters were then compiled in the Global Happiness Policy Report by Prof. Sachs and the editor of the document, Prof. John F. Helliwell. The report is published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network at the Global Dialogue for Happiness Forum on the sidelines of the World Government Summit 2018.

"Promoting happiness and positivity in the community is at the heart of all the Dubai Government’s plans and strategies," said Dr. Bin Bishr. "This aligns with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, which seeks to build a fully-fledged smart city that prioritises people’s happiness and wellbeing, strives to understand their needs and aspirations, and offers the world a unique success story in terms of happiness."

"Our participation in the Global Happiness Policy Report allows us to relay Dubai’s experience as a model smart city to the world. With the strategic cooperation of all government entities, Dubai has succeeded in embedding happiness into the fabric of its society by employing advanced technology to economise people’s time and effort and provide them with best-in-class services and lifestyles," she added, announcing the completion of the chapter on happy cities in the Global Happiness Policy Report, which seeks to highlight the best strategies and action plans to promote happiness in cities.

The chapter showcases some of the most prominent international success stories in smart-city building, including some of Dubai’s successes, such as the Dubai Pulse data platform – the digital backbone of the city – and Dubai Now, which offers smart services via a single, fast, seamless and paperless platform, where users can complete their transactions through their smartphones without having to visit service centres. Other examples featured in the chapter include the Boston City Performance Index; the community centres in Prince Albert, Canada; the open government in Quito, Ecuador; the self-driving shuttle in Cefux, France; and the waste management programme in Seoul, South Korea.

The chapter on happy cities is based on the OECD Guidelines on Measuring Self-Sufficiency, which cover three essential elements: Life Assessment, which reflects on the individual’s life or specific aspects of it; Emotion, which evaluates an individual’s response to emotional influences, and Prosperity, which gives a sense of meaning and purpose to life. It also discusses smart-city objectives and best practices to achieve happiness through these goals, which are: economy, people and society, governance, mobility, environment, and life empowerment.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, launched the World Happiness Council on 20th March 2017, which coincided with the UN World Happiness Day. The Council seeks to discuss ways to support governments to promote happiness and positivity in society, improve living standards, meet future challenges, and share experiences and best practices in the sector. The World Happiness Council includes prominent experts and executives from the UK, Canada and the US, as well as the Netherlands, Ecuador and the UAE.