In this article from The New York Times , How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know by John Tierney the government of Somerville Massachusetts is putting a number on its citizens happiness. As the yearly census go out a few questions on their environment and life style have also been attached. The government of Somerville what’s to know on a scale from 1-10 how happy are you right now ? They feel the need to know how their 76,000 residents lives are affected by policies that can be changed to make their lives happier.

Although some residents think this is a good idea and even feel flattered by the city’s attention, I don’t believe that happiness should be measured and promoted by the government. But it is, throughout our daily lives we are constantly being told how to be happy and all the material things you need in order to do so. Although this experiment is meant to improve living conditions not everyone takes it serious and the results may be affected by the people who are unhappy by petty materialistic factors such as their looks and superficial needs. Things such as efforts by the city to improve should be taken into account and an overall services.

In regards to the communities well being I believe we need to focus on the public school systems, mass transit and health issues. Although Somerville seems like the “..perfect test tube for such an experiment” a more ideal place for such an experiment should be a larger city with a variety of incomes and needs. Although not everyone may agree on one specific solution or policy to community issues it is worth a try.

Article Response How happy Are You? Tanaye A

According to The New York Times’ 2011 article; “How Happy Are You? A Census Want to Know” by John Tierney, Somerville, Mass. started to question, “How happy do you feel right now?,” on their census. Citizens are given a scale of one to ten. Some people were actually happy at the moment. The purpose of asking this is to become the first city in the United States to track people’s happiness and to advertise policies and make changes in a city that was once in danger to gain happiness. Somerville wish to see the effects on installing bike paths and opening new parks to see if people’s feelings will change while mass transit is getting improved.

However I don’t think happiness can be measured the way Somerville did because; the census didn’t come in everyday. Therefore people feel different everyday or at a different time of day. For example when asked in “how happy are you? A census wants to know, “how satisfied are you with your life in general?” a guy gave himself a six only because he wants to be three inches taller and wants to speak Quechua fluently, which is accurate for him because that’s something that he wants, but being three inches taller isn’t going happen instinct it’s based on his genes. But speaking Quechua can happen if he takes the time to learn it.

Yes, I do think happiness can be promoted because it only takes one person or something that makes you happy, and it can be the little things that make you happy, just by someone saying Hi to you and it made you smile or brighten up your day. For example Somerville was known as “Slummerville, but sense its city is getting gentrified its making the city’s reputation better and looking better as well. Vanessa Lagerman who have lived in Somerville for six years, is a resident who appreciates the city’s effort of making changes to the city, such as adding bike lanes, but that may be happy for people who ride bikes, but not for people who drive cars because it may can cause a lot of traffic.

I think many things are important to our well-beings, according to Mr. Brennan the owner of P J Ryan’s, a pub In Teele square who also noticed the city’s effort, but noticed that while the census was taking surveys it’s going to be high because of what they are doing now to the city, as he said it depends on the mood of the person at the moment, as I said before. If the city wants to something to happen and they see it happening, or there are changes being made. Then of course its satisfying their well beings. As for me I think transportation should lower its prices because it’s too much. Yes, its only $2:50, but that can be a meal for lunch. I don’t think it should increase , and the government continues to increase transportation, but trains are still running slow, having delays, and aren’t working proper, and machines take our money, and for you to get your money back ,you have to go through a whole process by filling out a form and mailing it, is ridiculous . But as for some New Yorkers like me we are spending $30 every week for a weekly metro, which I think is highly too much and $115 for a monthly is even worse. The government knows exactly what they are doing by taking our money. If transportation lower its prices I think less people will hop the trains and will it satisfy everyone well beings, it definitely will satisfy my well being.
Lastly I think their can be a conflict with individual and community well being because, one can say people who are on public assistance shouldn’t have to pay taxes, the community might love that, but the people who aren’t on public assistance will disagree because they will think it is unfair. However I don’t think it’s a measure to people’s happiness it’s based on your mood, and how you are feeling at the moment because people feelings change every day.