Dubai on a Mission to be the Happiest City in the World.
Not content with being the destination of choice for sun-seeking expats the world over, having tax-free salaries or being home to breath-taking architecture and technological innovation, Dubai has set its sights on achieving the loftiest of all ambitions – to become the world’s happiest city.
This may seem an impossible feat to even attempt let alone achieve, but leave it to the most ambitious city in the world to come up with a way to accurately measure how happy its people truly are.
Strategically dotted across Dubai are a series of interactive touch points called Happiness Meters. Developed by Smart Dubai – a collaboration between private and government partners to deliver an impactful city experience for residents and visitors – these happiness meters invite residents to leave feedback on all that Dubai offers.
Each of the 1,000 meters features three distinct emojis – a happy face, a neutral face and a sad face. These are used to rank user satisfaction for a range of everyday services. The results are then collated into a happiness index, with the number of happy faces determining Dubai’s overall happiness score.
How Happy is Dubai?
Director General of Smart Dubai, Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr rightly believes that the most accurate and objective way to discover how happy the people of Dubai truly are with the services the city offers is to listen to everyone’s opinions.
According to Dr. Bishr, the current happiness score measured by more than 6 million votes is an amazing 90%. However, not content with having 90% of the approximately, 2.8 million people living in Dubai, Dr. Bishr harbors the ambition that by 2021, the happiness score will reach 95%.
Smart Dubai’s vision for a happier, healthier Dubai doesn’t stop there. Investing in the future, Smart Dubai has developed vocal emotions technology that analyses vocal properties and tone of voice. It’s hoped that the technology will provide a deeper insight into feelings and provide more in-depth data to judge how happy people really are.
Dubai’s Ongoing Commitment to Making People Happy
In 2016, the first Minister of State for Happiness in the UAE, Ohood Al Roumi was elected. Her role is to promote and prioritize happiness in government and everyday life. Her appointment is part of a larger vision to put the happiness of UAE citizens at the forefront of a government decision.
This move has been welcomed by many in the international community who believe that governments should place the happiness of citizens at the top of their priorities. Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark agrees that the happiness of people should always be at the core of public policy and needs to be the ‘overarching goal of governments.’
Mr. Wiking explains that happiness can be determined by six key variables – GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption. Dubai’s current societal infrastructure and support services, economic landscape and ambition are clear indicators that the city is up to the challenge and committed to ensuring that its people enjoy their lives.
But, perhaps what’s most illuminating is Dr. Bishr’s belief that when a city commits itself to happiness, the people, whether as a collective or as individuals, directly benefit. This creates a culture whereby happiness is actively fostered, becoming infectious.
Dubai is on a mission to be the happiest city in the world and, after significant investment by both the public and private sectors, who’s to say that the city won’t reign supreme as the happiest city in the world in years to come!
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