Planners often discuss the success of cities, towns, districts or neighborhoods in relation to “quality of life”. Although it is quite an ambiguous term, it generally encompasses topics such as public health, economic and social well-being, community safety and resilience. The World Health Organization defines quality of life as “an individual’s perception of their position in life within the context of the culture and value systems in which they live”.
This week we ask Edmonds residents: How would you describe your quality of life in Edmonds? And what aspects of Edmonds (amenities, activities, location, affordability, etc.) contribute to this feeling?
How people answer this question will reflect their lived experiences and the values they place on certain aspects of their current lives.
In the book happy city, the author recalls his conversation with Enrique Peñalosa, the mayor of Bogotá, Colombia in 2007; Enrique described how he transformed Bogotá from a truly awful place to live into one of the happiest. Peñalosa is quoted as saying:
“If we defined our success only in terms of per capita income, we would be forced to accept ourselves as second- or third-rate societies – a bunch of losers. No, the City needed a new goal. Peñalosa promised neither a car in every garage nor a socialist revolution. His promise was simple. He was going to make Bogotans happier.
He was later known as the Mayor of Happy.
I visited Bogotá in the fall of 2018 as a speaker at an international conference on walkable cities. I had the chance to hear Gil Peñalosa speak, former Commissioner of Parks, Sports and Recreation of Bogotá and brother of Mayor Peñalosa. Their energy and passion for collective happiness and well-being was contagious, and the result of their labor was evident throughout the city. People were liberated by parks, sidewalks, bike lanes and new public spaces. Although I did not conduct a sentiment survey during my visit, it seemed that happiness was a way of life in Bogotá, Colombia.
Every good plan starts with a collective vision. Tell us what you think of the quality of life at Edmonds. What makes you happy or would make you even happier at Edmonds. Join us in a citywide conversation that will culminate in a vision statement to guide the development of Edmonds’ overall plan.
Over the next five weeks, we will focus on key topics that touch on various aspects of the Plan. Here is the schedule:
- Quality of life: August 15 to 21
- Economic Growth: August 22-28
- Environment: August 29-Sept. 4
- Culture: September 5 to 11
- Habitability and Land Use: September 12-18
Please complete our Edmonds Quality of Life mini-survey (available at https://bit.ly/quality2024or by scanning the QR code below) and visit us this week at the following events to share your views:
Coffee-chat with Susan (Director of Development Services) | Wednesday August 17 | Café Jaiiya at 10032 Edmonds Way, Suite 101 | 8h-9h30
Edmonds Art Walk | Thursday August 18 | downtown shopping area | Staff available from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Taste Edmonds | Friday – Sunday August 19-21 | Frances Anderson Playground | Afternoon tea takes place from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., staff available from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Keep an eye out for more event announcements later this week as we move into the thematic Community Conversation on Economic Growth the week of August 22nd.
— By Susan McLaughlin, Director of Development Services at Edmonds