Happiness and Wellbeing in Cities and Communities
Ahmed Meselhy : hi everyone, and thank you for joining the United Nations association of the United States of America for our global engagement online series. Ahmed Meselhy : A semi monthly program that connects members of the public to industry leaders to discuss our planet's most pressing issues. Ahmed Meselhy : i'd like to introduce myself first my name is Ahmed Meselhy and i'm the global goals ambassador of UN a USA for as the 11th sustainable cities and communities, and this is my co Ambassador Caroline. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: I want my name is Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski I too am a una USA ambassador of stg 11 sustainable cities and communities, I am also a part of the brooklyn chapter for you and a USA and a UN experiential fellow.
Ahmed Meselhy : Thank you, and now I would like to briefly introduce our speakers or lead the discussion about happiness and will be from different perspectives. Ahmed Meselhy : relation between happiness and our health conditions, how the urban design of sustainable cities and communities can achieve well being, and of course the significant role of transportation and this issue. Ahmed Meselhy : Dr Mary Christine-Nizzi and unavailable leader and scientists and medical humanities Robert Fleming and award winning educator author and architect. Ahmed Meselhy : Then Zenobia fields of transportation expert and director of government and community relations and Kim flores an expert in social and emotional beings co author speaker and director of happiness at Johnson second. Ahmed Meselhy : Today, we will focus on happiness and well being and cities and communities in honor of the International Day of happiness in 2012. Ahmed Meselhy : The General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution proclaiming most one year.
Ahmed Meselhy : As the International Day of happiness recognizing the relevance of happiness and will be as universal goals and aspirations and the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of it and the recognition in the public policy. Ahmed Meselhy : It also recognized the need for more inclusive equitable and balanced approach to economic growth, for them to promote sustainable development, poverty eradication happiness and wellbeing, for all the people on the planet. Ahmed Meselhy : That led to defining a new world paradigm through the report of the High Level Meeting and well being and happiness. Ahmed Meselhy : The 2017 UN report emphasizes the social foundations of happiness, this represents a significant shift away from what is called before the GDP to a soul measure of quality of life. Ahmed Meselhy : The world happiness reports of 2021 focuses on the effect of covered 19 and how it affected people's lives and third and last, there will be.
Ahmed Meselhy : We are celebrating the International Day of happiness as a way to recognize the importance of happiness and our lives and the lives of the people in. Ahmed Meselhy : lunch, the 70 and sustainable development goals, also known as the GS which seeks to end poverty, reduce inequality and protect our planet. Ahmed Meselhy : three key aspects that lead to well being and happiness and now here we go to our speakers, I would like to introduce our first speaker Dr Mary Christine is. Ahmed Meselhy : she's a visionary leader holds our interdisciplinary expertise and medical humanities, with a PhD in philosophy from serving university and a PhD in clinical psychology from Harvard University. Ahmed Meselhy : Marie-Christine’s a scientific director at Harvard alumni mental where she directs at global research program to develop disseminate and evaluate interventions, improving the well being of alumni worldwide.
Ahmed Meselhy : And award winning scientist educator her specialty course rank at the best at Harvard and she was named that one at in horizon Harvard scholar, for her work with the US veterans and face transplant recipients, where do you Christine we're going to be more happy to hear from you go ahead. Marie-Christine Nizzi: Thank you so much for this wonderful introduction, thank you for inviting me it's an honor for me to join my wonderful colleagues in this panel today. Marie-Christine Nizzi: I want to start by acknowledging that talking about happiness in today's context of global loss and systemic oppression against minorities may seem out of place. Marie-Christine Nizzi: Many of us are navigating grief and hope, like the lighthouse in the storm may this event, be a beacon of hope to those of us who grief. Marie-Christine Nizzi: To get us all started, I would like to ask everybody three questions, a poll should have here on your screen. Marie-Christine Nizzi: And you'll be able to answer with your gut feeling each of the three questions, there are no right or wrong answers so go ahead and click away and we'll keep that poll on the screen for a few more seconds.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: Thank you, everybody I see clicking away. Marie-Christine Nizzi: And we are going to leave the pool for five more seconds. Marie-Christine Nizzi: 4321. Marie-Christine Nizzi: And now we're going to share the results with you, so you can see that most of you answered that in money and happiness money cannot buy happiness.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: That happiness had more to do with contentment that excitement, and then you feel happier when you think of the thing that you want, then the thing then you get the thing you want keep your answers in mind we're going to do on a journey together. Marie-Christine Nizzi: And I don't know if I need to remove that pull it should no longer be on everybody's screen great. Marie-Christine Nizzi: Imagine you just won the lottery you're now a billionaire you can do whatever you want, you can quit your job, never have to worry about healthcare ever again travel the world and then what will you be happily ever after. Marie-Christine Nizzi: happiness is a powerful drive, but an elusive goal in my time today, I would like to dispel a few myths about nuggets and seeds. Marie-Christine Nizzi: See the myth that lottery companies sell us is that the more money, we have the happier we get and the entire world of advertising is supporting this narrative.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: That don't get me wrong money is a strong contributor to life satisfaction, up to a certain point money can buy us food put a roof over our head, give us access to health and safety, but once those essential needs are met, more money as you see doesn't always mean more happiness. Marie-Christine Nizzi: In fact, our intuitions about that are completely wrong because we tend to overestimate how long the excitement of winning will make us happy. Marie-Christine Nizzi: One year after winning most lottery winners report that their happiness level is back to what it was before. Marie-Christine Nizzi: In economy this disconnect between happiness and wealth is called the easterly and paradox beyond the threshold of essential needs countries continue to accumulate wealth here in blue, but their happiness of their population reaches a plateau. Marie-Christine Nizzi: So if you were to win the lottery and to buy a car data predicts that, one year later, your happiness level would be the same, whether you bought this car or that one. Marie-Christine Nizzi: But our intuitions shout, otherwise we all tend to believe that once we get the thing we want will be happier.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: Most of us, however, have not won the lottery so let's think about a situation that most of us have experienced. Marie-Christine Nizzi: Have you ever anticipated receiving something you really, really wanted the toy of the year, when you were a kid a big promotion at work, your dream house. Marie-Christine Nizzi: You they dreamed of it, imagining again and again the moments when it would finally be yours just thinking about it made you happy for months, sometimes years and then the dream came true you've got the thing you wanted and the dreaming stopped. Marie-Christine Nizzi: Like dreaming happiness is intangible it's not a thing, but we associate happiness with certain things and we begin to want these things as a proxy for happiness.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: This is particularly true in cities where many desirable, things are on display all around us, while the stories behind each of these tokens often remains anonymous we imagined the blissful life of other people, and we feel less happy by comparison. Marie-Christine Nizzi: In use this comparison to touched up pictures of happiness on social media is particularly damaging to self esteem and mental health. Marie-Christine Nizzi: So, how come our instinct is so wrong about what will truly make us happy, that is, except for most of the people in this room who answered correctly.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: Well, our brain gets hijacked by immediate reward would you rather receive a gold nugget or a seed before you even get to think about what the seed could turn into over time there's a part of your brain that's already shouting that you want the nugget. Marie-Christine Nizzi: Like winning the lottery nuggets represents immediate reward and our brain loves those we think it will make us happy because our brain gets very excited about it. Marie-Christine Nizzi: But confusing happiness with excitement has a cost in the body, the high excitement we feel when we anticipate a reward triggers the same system as stress.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: Somehow we have learned to enjoy the intensity of being stressed. Marie-Christine Nizzi: and bad things happen to us when we stay in that hyperdrive for too long, accelerated aging emotional exhaustion mental illness. Marie-Christine Nizzi: Sustainable contentment, on the other hand, does not feel like excitement in fact it activates the opposite system your body relaxes at peace and satisfied. Marie-Christine Nizzi: This is the happy state that are a body can maintain over time, and when we feel good our self esteem increases our productivity increases and our resilience through tough time improves. Marie-Christine Nizzi: So what does sustainable happiness look like.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: Today, I want to suggest to you that the quest for happiness starts with a shift in mindset. Marie-Christine Nizzi: rather than looking for quick nuggets We would do better to cultivate seeds and to seek long term contentment rather than the high of immediate reward. Marie-Christine Nizzi: When we slow down and declutter our space from the things that get us excited we start to notice small variations within us. Marie-Christine Nizzi: When we start thinking that happiness comes from things on the outside, we discover that each of us already has the perfect compass to happiness we can't buy that, but we can train it the science of happiness tells us how so here are three skills, you can cultivate to grow your happiness. Marie-Christine Nizzi: First train your attention away from comparisons that lead you astray cities offers sharp disparities my colleagues at the French observatory of wellbeing has shown. Marie-Christine Nizzi: How easy it is to become depressed by looking at what others have that we lack, in so doing we forget the lesson from the lottery winners.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: Once our essential needs are covered, no stimulus check can replace the happiness that comes from seeing our loved ones so rather than focusing on wanting new things see if you can cultivate the relationships that bring you joy and meaning. Marie-Christine Nizzi: Second, train your attention towards gratitude science has found that writing three things that you're grateful for every single day, no matter how small can deeply transport your life satisfaction. Marie-Christine Nizzi: Try, making it a daily ritual when you go to bed ask yourself, no matter what else happened, what are three things i'm grateful for today. Marie-Christine Nizzi: And third practice mindfulness try to notice subtle changes around you to ground yourself in the presence, for instance, try to notice when you think each day along your commute or when you grab the mail. Marie-Christine Nizzi: Cities change rapidly around us, offering many opportunities to tune in and notice. Marie-Christine Nizzi: Changing behaviors is like planting a seed, it takes time and the rewards come with patience and continued growth.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: We all know the value of compound interest over many decades to build retirement savings building happiness is no different. Marie-Christine Nizzi: It is in a small shift in perspective in the intangible moments of connection in the attention to subtle changes along the way, that transformation and lasting happiness happen. Marie-Christine Nizzi: And since practice makes perfect, I want to give you all an opportunity to take your next step towards life habits that will help you grow your happiness right now.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: Please follow me on your phone your tablet or your computer type in mentee.com m en ti.com and you will be able to see the responses of everybody in real time, as we enter now this screen, you will see that you need to enter code once you are on the website minty calm the code is 49387986. Marie-Christine Nizzi: So, again on mentee.com and the code is 49387986. Marie-Christine Nizzi: And far first question, I will ask you to notice one new thing around you.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: You can look around, especially if you've been in that same room for a long time, independent MC try to find something that you have not paid attention to in a long time, it can be something you hear something you see something you smell or you touch. Marie-Christine Nizzi: And then you can enter up to three responses, but try to at least find one new thing and now everybody should see the responses in real time of those nice things you're discovering around you blooming tree some dust a candle. Marie-Christine Nizzi: A curtain the grass in the yard flowers, a reflection of the mirror. Marie-Christine Nizzi: fresh air system folding laundry coffee. Marie-Christine Nizzi: See how our attention can be directed to all these things in our life that we don't often pay attention to. Marie-Christine Nizzi: And we're going to now move to the second question, we will do the same exercise a lot of you noticing dust AC.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: And for the second exercise i'm going to ask you to list, one thing that you're grateful for today and saying you can notice up to three to try to notice at least one thing that you feel grateful for today. Marie-Christine Nizzi: Family pets string the vaccine sunshine health, the family, those connections, my home. Marie-Christine Nizzi: watching from my balcony you see health, family coffee sunshine are starting to pop up wonderful.
Marie-Christine Nizzi: Thank you, everybody and I encourage you, as I now go back to my slides Thank you all for participating. Marie-Christine Nizzi: I encourage you to continue to practice those habits in your life to continue growing and improving your well being Thank you all. Ahmed Meselhy : Thank you, Dr Marie-Christine and that was awesome and wonderful presentation, it was very interactive and inspiring your pictures really touched my heart. Ahmed Meselhy : And i'm happy to answer correctly your first questions and, by the way, I was the candle guy.
Ahmed Meselhy : And I guess or unlicensed are really great and it will make a shift like a very big shift in my life specially for spending more than like a week, and this pandemic not going outside Thank you all for interacting with us. Ahmed Meselhy : And i'm sure that you have a lot of questions but we're going to delay the questions after all four speakers are done so you can have the opportunity to listen from more than one perspective from different speakers. Ahmed Meselhy : And now, our next speaker Professor rob Fleming he's an award winning educator author, LEED accredited professional architect. Ahmed Meselhy : he's The co creator and director of the master of science, sustainable design program at Thomas Jefferson university his program is one of the oldest largest and most innovative sustainable design programs and the world. Ahmed Meselhy : And 2020 rob co authored his third and fourth books sustainable design basics and sustainable design for the built environment. Ahmed Meselhy : rob is a sustainability phyllo at revision architecture in Philadelphia, where he consults and facilities integrated designs rates.
Ahmed Meselhy : And all his work rob strives to advocate for social equity and the built environment regenerate the natural environment and make beautiful spaces also he brings economic viability just assembly projects rob we're going to be more happy to hear from you the stage is yours. Robert Fleming: Well, thank you so much, their argument, and if you could start with the polls right away that would be great if we could bring those up. Ahmed Meselhy : Now you can. Robert Fleming: Okay, I feel happy in my current. Robert Fleming: workspace please answer that question. Robert Fleming: And then we have I feel happier when i'm out in nature answer that question, yes or no, I wish my current workspace was more natural.
Robert Fleming: And then, if you scroll down the most important question is, I like it when a spider crawling up on my arm love for you to answer that one very, very honestly, please. Robert Fleming: And you'll notice that we have we're barely actually we're over 10% which is pretty amazing and we can keep the poll open for another 54321 and i'm going to go ahead and share my screen at this point if that's okay and we'll get started. Robert Fleming: And do you all see my screen right now is that is it clear great alright well i'm so happy to be here i'm going to try to answer a question a little different than marie's. Robert Fleming: My question is, can design bring happiness hmm not so sure, but i'm so grateful to be here today, I will dig into this. Robert Fleming: This challenging question let's start with the big picture, what a transformative point in history, this is the equivalent of the declaration of independence for the US. Robert Fleming: And i'm sure for other documents and other countries, please, if you have not looked at these look at them more closely, and especially.
Robert Fleming: For me, being an architect i'm looking at goal number 11 sustainable cities and communities now how are you feeling right now. Robert Fleming: When you see this picture, do you start to feel good do you feel more relaxed you feel more hopeful you feel the sun, you see the brown colors of the earth, the trees. Robert Fleming: And you know just on the horizon, some deer are going to cross the page and you're going to kill them and eat them and that's what makes you happy. Robert Fleming: Is that in this this landscape here, you see, food, this is referred to as a savannah principle it's coined by satoshi kind of Allah. Robert Fleming: In 2004 principle that human behavior remaining to some extent, adapted to ancestral environment of early homo in the savannah may lead to problems in modern day.
Robert Fleming: And this is how we're going to start to answer the question that we're going to talk about and Marie this goes even deeper into what you talked about. Robert Fleming: what's actually happening your brain during happiness what chemicals are being released, these are legal drugs that you can buy for zero dollars. Robert Fleming: And I think murray's presentation really show that oxytocin serotonin dopamine and endorphins endorphins and oxytocin is also the drug that is released when you're collaborating. Robert Fleming: When you're playing in a rock band when you're playing sports when you're doing a design Charrette together right. Robert Fleming: So I think of these as so and so is just a wonderful pathway to happiness, maybe we can activate them. Robert Fleming: Maybe we can allow that to happen, but we also have another sort of villain here, which is cortisol which is stress.
Robert Fleming: Which is unhappiness and Marie mentioned about how we have shorter lifespans. Robert Fleming: When we have too much stress in our lives when we don't have those other drugs being released into our body so. Robert Fleming: Today i'm going to talk about how to accentuate the one group and to bring down the cortisol and the other group of examples now, I wonder if you look at this picture. Robert Fleming: Do you think this picture is cortisol or do you think this is serotonin. Robert Fleming: And you could just think about that you don't have to actually answer that question because it's cortisol zero natural light. Robert Fleming: fluorescent light beaming down on folks no sense of privacy know views the nature, no plants, no color.
Robert Fleming: And also everybody looks unbelievably the same and we don't talk I think we'll talk a little bit more about diversity and why diversity is also part of that. Robert Fleming: But there again another sort of cortisol environment that's hurting us making us unhappy look at those lights hanging over there. Robert Fleming: These poor gentlemen suffering looking at those drawings and then there's the classic office worker, this is a death sentence for us this is probably going to take two three years. Robert Fleming: off of our life here we go here's some more of at least they made some blue panels right i'm looking at Caroline right now she looks mortified by these interiors.
Robert Fleming: But this is what this is what I was trained as an architect, I was trained to design these. Robert Fleming: And so 30 years ago 20 years ago I don't remember I just quit my job, and I said, I cannot be a part of creating these spaces. Robert Fleming: I have to be a part of creating happiness for people and they know that this is not the answer I knew it before I knew what cortisol was I knew I was doing the wrong thing and I actually designed spaces like this actually is bad or worse than this.
Robert Fleming: Good news is times are changing and we are getting smarter and, more importantly, we are getting more empathetic and this empathy is another form of intelligence. Robert Fleming: That, I think it's going to drive and is driving a transformation or built environment. Robert Fleming: And I love this diagram because the woman here standing on the basis of the United Nations and the United Nations and the sustainable development principles. Robert Fleming: Are beautiful because they marry self interest with empathy for a holistic model of how we can move forward as a society we are never going to cease to be self interested. Robert Fleming: And yet we've got to start to look on that right side over there, the overall quality of life altruism the second invisible hand, is what I call it. Robert Fleming: and long term thinking, these are ways that are going to transform us and bring us happiness, hopefully, not just to those who are wealthy, but to all people.
Robert Fleming: So one of the things that you're going to learn about today in my speech is something called bio field like design. Robert Fleming: Let me start off by saying, I am no expert in bio field design, but it's never stopped me. Robert Fleming: From talking about it because I find it to be amazing and what biofeedback design does is it actually stimulates the release of those happiness chemicals in your brain. Robert Fleming: and makes you feel really good so when you look at this picture you probably would like to have that as a lobby for your building right Maria is not he, of course. Robert Fleming: Right, this is what we're striving for, we feel good why, because when we see plants that are thriving we know the sun is out.
Robert Fleming: We know there's water, we probably know their animals and we probably know it's going to bloom in the spring and it makes us happy to know that we are one with our environment. Robert Fleming: This is that a competing university called drexel, but this is a living wall five stories tall and as people go up the steps they experienced that living wall over and over again. Robert Fleming: Now let's be honest here living walls are really dying walls, they are most of the time in a state of dying. Robert Fleming: And it's our intervention and our maintenance that keeps that thing alive, because we know that it generates the happiness imagine getting ready for final exam and you get to take that stairway.
Robert Fleming: right before the exam it's taking your cortisol away and it's bringing your serotonin and your endorphins in. Robert Fleming: And then, this is the most unbelievable place in the world, Singapore, I have not been there, this is now my goal, this is a city built on biophilia as its guiding principle for design. Robert Fleming: And when you see that water, you know there's fishing that water, you know there's food in that landscape you feel great. Robert Fleming: So it's not just that you're seeing green stuff it's that that green stuff symbolizes and triggers are really send your body, if something good, this is the first.
Robert Fleming: biofeedback building and Singapore it's a hospital I forget the name I apologize, and what they realized was the more nature that they put into the hospital, the quicker people recovered from illness. Robert Fleming: there's a waiting list to get into this hospital and boy does it take a lot of work to maintain this and boy, is it worth it, this is the paradigm change that we're seeing and design right now. Robert Fleming: Now, this is a little bit of a different example imagine if central park came up for sale What would it be worth.
Robert Fleming: Probably a billion probably a couple billion dollars, if not more, the value of those apartments around central park are there because of the views to those trees, we know intuitively that those trees, make us happy. Robert Fleming: And so, living on the edge is costing millions of dollars and then you know this Tower here well. Robert Fleming: i'm going to hold judgment on the tower, I also want to acknowledge that central park was built by taking land from folks.
Robert Fleming: That lived in New York City that was that should not have happened, so I don't want to celebrate central park is as a great triumph in design, but it certainly has changed New York City. Robert Fleming: For sure, and we know we love water, why do we love water, why do you love the sound of water when water is moving it's being cleaned. Robert Fleming: And we read we gravitate towards clean water, we don't like the swampy water, the smelly, what are we love water this moving and whenever we see a flower blooming. Robert Fleming: We know that there are birds and their bs somewhere in the environment because flowers don't bloom unless you're in a healthy ecosystem. Robert Fleming: And of course flowers make us happy, I mean, how could you not this is actually not photoshop, this is an actual photo that I stole from the Internet and did not put my source on so I apologize for that. Robert Fleming: But here's the thing about biophilia design you don't have to actually do nature to create the effects of nature inside us So these are using the the images of nature to create an interiors out of materials that are more human made.
Robert Fleming: it's a little blurry and I apologize that circle is not real that is a projection onto the ceiling of a sky. Robert Fleming: and apparently simulated nature will also help us to to gravitate towards spaces and to be happy. Robert Fleming: So these are sort of the subtle kind of aspects and then of course we have frankly rights Johnson wax building. Robert Fleming: If you notice, you cannot see where the wall and the ceiling me, it is a beautiful artificial lit sky and then what are you doing you're working under giant mushrooms so you're either on drugs or in your in a beautiful natural space that you can feel greater. Robert Fleming: Now this is one that we talked about a lot is prospect and refuge we feel great when we feel safe and secure well, we also feel great when we can see out why do we want to see how. Robert Fleming: We want to see predators coming, and we also want to get those deer that I talked about at the beginning of the presentation we like the idea that we can sit up in high ground and hunt.
Robert Fleming: We feel great when you go to a restaurant, the first person that takes a seat at the table always takes the seat, with their back to the wall, have you ever noticed that. Robert Fleming: that's because they're seeking the refuge That means, nobody can sneak up on them from behind right, these are very subtle indicators for design. Robert Fleming: and frankly right understood this very well and falling water he gave us the ultimate. Robert Fleming: refuge with this fireplace with the boulders but he also gave us these balconies where you can begin to look out and see what's happening in the world.
Robert Fleming: Now we have really abstracted our connection to the savannah, but these four people that are going out golfing first of all they're holding hands, which is really weird i've never held held hands with anybody i've dealt with. Robert Fleming: But a lot of the things that we do and smarts and a lot of things we do like collecting mushrooms really do harken back to the happiness of us in the savanna hunting and gathering and being those human beings remember. Robert Fleming: We we've all for 100,000 years as hunter gatherers we've only been farmers for 12,000 and we've only been industrialists for 50 years, so we are much, much more attuned to the folks on the left.
Robert Fleming: And we are to the folks on the Right, who are trying to grab a little bit of that original jewelry that they might have had. Robert Fleming: Maybe you don't, believe me, maybe rob is just telling stories here well here's the proof the research is out there Carnegie mellon has done years of research to prove that. Robert Fleming: By using biofeedback designed by having access to views light fresh air people are going to be healthier and, by the way, businesses will make more money sorry to bring in money there Maria I had to do it they're just had to do it.
Robert Fleming: Well, if only ever just that simple right here here's a little bit of a problem this is, this is the thing now. Robert Fleming: raise your hand or smile, if this is like Maria just answered my question you are all in love, right now, why do you love these kittens, why do you love them they're gross they they have letter and eat food and they're all over the House. Robert Fleming: But listen, we have evolved over centuries to know that cats actually provide value for us. Robert Fleming: In terms of our own health and happiness is not just that they're fairy and fluffy and i'm going to prove it to you by showing you that picture.
Robert Fleming: Now immediately Caroline was stressed out and cortisol was immediately released into her body. Robert Fleming: Right and she wants me to put this picture up she's like please put this picture up right, so these cats actually have evolved and we've used them to hunt beads. Robert Fleming: And the reason that we don't like these they're just as ferry and they're just as friendly is they carry disease. Robert Fleming: And we have evolved over centuries and centuries to know that these rat these are these rats are trouble, so we like these folks we don't like these folks. Robert Fleming: Right, so we got to really start to dig into what it is that drives us and makes us happy and that's why the last question is as much as we say that we love nature. Robert Fleming: As much as you say we're going to be in one with nature right and we're going to be in love with nature.
Robert Fleming: We also have file phobia we have evolved over thousands of years, hundreds of thousands of years to know when to be scared. Robert Fleming: And it's okay to be scared in nature it's okay I don't want that to happen, but bad things can happen. Robert Fleming: it's it's definitely a possibility, and with that I will say thank you and I very much enjoy and bring back the kittens okay kittens are back. Robert Fleming: There we go let's end on this note Murray looks really much happier right now so we'll we'll end on that note, I want to thank you all for for letting me chat with you about happiness in the built environment. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Thank you so much for letting us and then that beautiful happy note, and I feel called out because, as a manhattanite I see those rats everywhere and i'm so fortunate that I get to live with the cat my roommates cat but thank you so much, and I think your point even about.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Singapore incorporating nature into it's vital for like design, I went to Singapore, to visit my friend and that's when my sustainability journey actually started, because I was so inspired by the chimney jewel so I hear you 100%. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: So we'll definitely catch up about that later, but right now we're going to move on to our third speaker and that will be Zenobia fields, our transportation expert and director of government and community relations at new jersey.at new. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Jersey Department of Transportation I should say. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Currently, is an Ob afield serves as the senior policy and program advisor at New Jersey Department of Transportation is no via plans organizes and coordinates the department's involvement and policy forums local state and national.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: This includes coordinating reviews of state and federal legislation capital investment strategies. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Capital program line items and national transportation officials policy statements to inform upcoming legislative changes and transportation projects and other transportation improvements. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Zenobia has over 20 years of diverse experience, including optimizing business processes.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Capacity building asset planning performance planning urban design transportation related design data sharing policy analysis and general Community development basically she's super woman. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: She has held positions with nonprofits government agencies and private sector companies, including project work at the local, regional and state and federal levels. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Zenobia is skilled at balancing detail oriented technical competencies with strategic relationship building from mutually beneficial joint initiatives. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Prior to joining the NGO team she spent almost 12 years with the North Jersey transportation planning authority.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: She started as a principal planner and was interested with increasing responsibilities ultimately serving as the department director of planning for more than six years. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: In this role, she was responsible for regional planning programs and mobility transportation, environmental and sustainability initiatives. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Systems planning modeling and data freight planning, as well as Interagency planning collaboration, he holds a bachelor's degree in architecture from the rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master's degree in urban planning from Virginia tech, so no being taken away. Zenobia Fields: Thank you Caroline in like to say i'm definitely my presentation will not be as long as that bio but I definitely. Zenobia Fields: enjoyed hearing the previous presenters and talking about what makes you happy and it really makes me think about my perspective. Zenobia Fields: And I would invite you all to think about your perspective to when you're thinking about how you're getting around, how is your happiness influence and it changes over time.
Zenobia Fields: Whether we're thinking about when we're younger in school, when I was in school my mother, let me walk to school, so my happiness was when I got to stop at the park or the playground, or at the corner store. Zenobia Fields: In high school she drove me to school, I think about college where we're talking about Singapore, one of my experiences and probably what got me really interested in transportation is when I did a semester abroad in Japan. Zenobia Fields: When I got there, instead of being driven to school over having being able to lock the school I had my whole family where they told me Okay, this is your bike. Zenobia Fields: you're going to ride your bike. Zenobia Fields: To the train station and then at the train station, there was a parking deck for bicycles it wasn't just a surface law or a couple of racks we were talking about our stories with ramps for parking deck. Zenobia Fields: And i'll talk about that a little bit later, then I had to go from there, the training to a commuter bus and the bus to the university.
Zenobia Fields: Now that was about an hour and a half, but I was it was so enjoyable to me because I was able to do some of the things that Maria said, taking nature. Zenobia Fields: When I was riding my bike I was riding past rice fields I was able to see mount fuji in the background, when it was a nice day. Zenobia Fields: Now it's a little bit different now when I got to work when I got to work now i'm in a situation where I work 26 miles away from my office so in order to make some of my meetings I drive alone, so that can be anywhere from 40 to 50 miles driving alone in a car.
Zenobia Fields: When I worked in other places where I was in urban Center I was able to take public transportation. Zenobia Fields: Now, on public transportation, the benefit of that is I can read a book, I can prepare for the day prepare for our presentation like that. Zenobia Fields: But at other times I wasn't able to do that when i'm driving alone or not taking a shuttle I had another co worker that instead of taking public transportation from the bronx over to New Jersey. Zenobia Fields: He actually preferred when he had a chance to ride his bike across the George Washington bridge, so he could go out do errands on the on the weekdays. Zenobia Fields: Every time the few times I drive across the George Washington bridge I think to myself as i'm ripping my steering wheel, how is this happiness or two wheel going process but to each his own I asked you all to think about that.
Zenobia Fields: So, think about what our influences have had rob mentioned some of the things when we're looking at about design, whether you're talking about the physical infrastructure, the built environment. Zenobia Fields: For me, what I often think about is the road design and how people like experiences thinking about the various land uses that we have whether we're in. Zenobia Fields: As we live, work play we shop get around what do you have access to let's give him prior What are those transportation options do you have the option of using public transportation. Zenobia Fields: Then, now I think a lot of what we're thinking about with our non renewable resources were thinking about some of these emerging technologies.
Zenobia Fields: We have the electrification of vehicles we have self driving cars. Zenobia Fields: Then, on the other side of that we have our personal influences we think about where we live, right now, may have a lot to do with not only our personal choices, but it has to do with our family. Zenobia Fields: If you have school aged children if you're taking if you're a caretaker or elderly adult our jobs or career goals we don't have a choice and necessarily where that is located, but we have a choice on where we live and how we choose self care what's going to feed our quality of life. Zenobia Fields: Over time we're going to see some technologies is going to impact, where we live.
Zenobia Fields: So one of the images that we have right now is showing where the streak or quarter right here you have your market places you don't have the combustion engine yet you're using your courses get around to mostly movement and free movement of goods. Zenobia Fields: But we think about the advent of cars and some of the emerging technology that same quarter looks very different right now, where. Zenobia Fields: The cars are priority, you know you don't have as much interaction, you have some interaction, so what i'm going to ask right now everyone could open up their chat box. Zenobia Fields: and put in the chat box where you're able to say, well, what is your favorite thing about where you live, right now, is it that you have green space, for example, is it that you're looking at.
Zenobia Fields: Your close to public transit, for example, think about some of those things, so we have green space we have quiet roads. Zenobia Fields: People like the piece apartment outlooks the dog park I like to walk my dog as well, public parks. Zenobia Fields: Now, I say that because what we're seeing some people like being close the highway having access to transit. Zenobia Fields: One of the things I say different recreations and that's still coming up right now, we like to think of things that give ourselves balance or for me i'm just going to speak from my experience that.
Zenobia Fields: way to decompress is a part of what adds to our happiness where we're always not in the same role and sometimes with that transportation, we want to make sure that we have the option, as well as we're getting around, how are we going to be able to decompress. Zenobia Fields: So some of the things that we're thinking about and thinking in the future, how will road design land use the chains in in the future. Zenobia Fields: right here, we can see that one of the things that we have coming out the buying administration they're telling us that pedestrian should be the priority it should be people were car. Zenobia Fields: When we're thinking about that design is that going to make us more comfortable, I have a Co worker he's more comfortable where he can ride his bike every day to work in this area, he would be if that that was the dominant area. Zenobia Fields: Then thinking about some other uses and I brought up an example of the curbside uses thinking about parking the electrification of vehicles. Zenobia Fields: Right now, I live in a suburban area for electric vehicle now I charging station in my garage and it may or may not be at your workplace.
Zenobia Fields: Where is it along the way, do you have that that range anxiety is that going to add to your stress to to have an electric vehicle, even though we're in a situation right now, that is. Zenobia Fields: Our combustion engine is a non renewable resource So what are we going to do with the shared electric charging stations and those possibilities as well. Zenobia Fields: Thinking about I talked about earlier when I went to Japan That was the first time that I saw alternative use for parking deck and that was just looking at the different modes. Zenobia Fields: But what if we had the options were built structures we were looking at a different us were living necessarily just one motor just for the car, but you had the option for relaxation. Zenobia Fields: to rest different activity, then it wasn't dominated by vehicle.
Zenobia Fields: Now i'm going to ask that we pull up the two polling questions that I have and those two polling questions that we're looking at how are we getting around now in the future. Zenobia Fields: So my first polling question that i'm going to ask is what is your preferred way to get around and that's looking at now so looking at whether we're walking whether we're bicycling whether we're driving alone or if you're in a shared ride public transportation, what is your option. Zenobia Fields: Then the next thing i'm going to ask really thinking about towards the future.
Zenobia Fields: What transportation technologies will most impact your quality of life, thinking about those emerging technologies, whether we're talking about driverless cars driverless shuttle. Zenobia Fields: electrification vehicles share charging stations to see to basically mitigate that a range anxiety or on demand service. Zenobia Fields: Okay. Zenobia Fields: Questions coming in, so we are going to stop the pole in two seconds so we'll stop one, two and we'll stop now. Zenobia Fields: So when we look at what we're talking about in terms of our preferred way to get around most people would prefer walking that may feed into where you live, and where you work in terms you get around. Zenobia Fields: If we're looking at what technology will most impact your quality of life, the electrification of vehicle.
Zenobia Fields: Now that is a technology that definitely coming in interested to have continue that conversation about what do we think about those shared services their shared charging stations and how we may have to impact some other industries to make sure that that's possible. Zenobia Fields: So just thinking about some of the possibilities that we may have in the future when we're thinking about. Zenobia Fields: Our built environment or roadway design our transportation options and then our various influencers about where we live, work play and get around. Zenobia Fields: This is a possibility of what it can look like in the future, now most of these images are the urban context, but we can think about what it would be if you were in a suburban rural areas area.
Zenobia Fields: Think about how we would use a roadway design where it's, not just for the cards parking, but if you had some of those driverless shadow you had places where you could mostly do your walking or you can do your bicycle. Zenobia Fields: This is an image from our PA just really thinking about how our transportation experience could evolve and our various options could evolve from about the time we are right now, where you see most people they may be looking at doing a. Zenobia Fields: Self driving car or they they may be looking at a car, they may be looking at writing alone in a car, they may be looking at carpooling. Zenobia Fields: Then, in the future, we have option, where we have more electric vehicle.
Zenobia Fields: If they are driverless vehicles do we need to keep them throughout the day if they're driverless vehicles arm, as many people going to live in the Center would we prefer to live out in those green spaces and enjoy the environment. Zenobia Fields: That means that that quarter there's going to be more room for those open spaces there's going to be more room for those things that enjoy and give us happiness in our transportation options. Zenobia Fields: So what I would ask and think about the question to continue how what is it going to look like when we think about design these emerging technologies and what really makes us happy as looking like in the future, so thank you very much looking forward to continuing the conversation.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: is so much Zenobia that was amazing and as someone who primarily relies on public transportation to get to and from work and even just to visit people during this time. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: it's really it's really interesting to notice certain ways how we may not intentionally realize the way that transportation is affecting our daily happiness. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: But I think this conversation will make us more intentional with our actions, moving forward and draw that attention that we need to make us happier, so thank you really for that really insightful and mindful presentation.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: And now moving on to our last speaker it's going to be Kim Flores director happiness at Johnson and second co author speaker expert in social and emotional well being. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: As Chief Officer of strategy and happiness Kim Flores works as a catalyst and a partner to grow purpose driven businesses and their heart lead dei cultures for maximum impact on the local, national or global level. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: In addition to working in the advertising branding marketing world of Johnson second a two time at age best places to work winner. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Kim has worked in the Dallas film industry for 25 years she worked as a commercial director and independent filmmaker and one lma award American Latin media arts award. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: For her feature films and book a CSS which she wrote and co directed Kim is also a published author.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: He has worked as an intuitive life counselor for 21 years and she is certified in the science of well being under the instruction of cognitive scientist Dr laurie renee Santos. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: At Yale university and became certified as a chief happiness officer with the marks happiness expert and global thought leader Alexander i'm going to butcher this. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: hero Kim practices happiness one moment at a time with her husband two sons and to rescue dogs in Dallas Texas so Kim i'm really looking forward to hearing your presentation. Kim Flores: Well, thank you for that kind introduction I am truly happy to be here and, before we begin i'd like to take a poll to see where we all are, in this moment. Kim Flores: Now there's no right or wrong answers there's no report cards or ribbons just information about you and for you, so he can put up pull up that whole. Kim Flores: Over the last 12 months, did you notice that you learn something new, yes or no.
Kim Flores: Over the last 12 months, did you notice that you had more resilience, yes or no. Kim Flores: Over the last 12 months, did you notice that you had more gratitude, yes or no so don't overthink it just submit what you have and we'll see what we get. Kim Flores: Group. Kim Flores: See if we have a little bit more time it's yes or no, yes or no. Kim Flores: All right, wow fantastic okay good to know good to know 97 and write this down.
Kim Flores: 9778 and then 85. Kim Flores: Fantastic all right well i'm going to pull all this information and put this in my back happiness back pocket as we continue to and we'll discuss it when I come back on our discussion. Kim Flores: Now, speaking of gratitude, I would like to thank the United Nations and Ahmed and Caroline for producing this impactful series and providing us with the opportunity to discuss the. Kim Flores: topics of happiness and well being in our communities and cities now my portion of this discussion is called the mind sustainable design and the transportation to. Kim Flores: happiness happiness happiness okay we're going to start with the mind now everybody wants to have happiness and well being and especially as we continue to navigate through the next phases of this pandemic.
Kim Flores: Now the million dollar question is how do we consistently create these positive emotions and experiences. Kim Flores: Well, for starters, it happens in our mind our big fat brains Now let me share a very recent experience. Kim Flores: Now I was talking about speaking about today's events and the resumes of my very distinguished panelists. Kim Flores: And the person I was talking to said, let me get this straight, this is a United Nations panel, and you have Dr Murray, Christine DC you have robbed Fleming, and so novia fields. Kim Flores: Now these are these three amazing heartless trailblazers who have committed their lives to service oh and we're also in a pandemic. Kim Flores: Oh, and then wasn't your state like five or six weeks ago in this huge winter storm and you totally fried your grid and cause blackouts and worse and it just so happened to be the most expensive natural disaster recorded in Texas and US history.
Kim Flores: And with all of that, what are you going to do, Madam happiness, to bring happiness, to the people. Kim Flores: And I said, whatever it takes now in my fight or flight response, I wanted to punch that person in the eye, but i'm not a fan of violence. Kim Flores: And truth be told, the other person who was acting nasty and snarky was me and I didn't think you would be good to show up today with a black guy for this presentation on happiness, but in that present moment I took a big deep breath. Kim Flores: I kissed my reptilian brain for fighting for me and trying to protect me and instead of reacting in that moment, I decided to respond and do something different. Kim Flores: And I decided to do whatever it takes So while I can't guarantee your happiness for well being in this moment, my intention is to do whatever it takes with information research and inspiration, that you can apply right here, and right now, for your own happiness and well being. Kim Flores: In her book The how of happiness positive psychology research Dr sonja lyubomirsky describes happiness, as the experience of joy contentment in positive well being.
Kim Flores: Combined with the sense that one's life is good meaningful and worthwhile. Kim Flores: Now happiness is a really broad experience and personal experience that's why you can have one person who's partying with thousands of other people and burning man. Kim Flores: And then you can have another dude looking for sustainable wood to build a tiny house in his backyard and then you can have another girl who surrounded by strangers and serving stupid a soup kitchen during the worst winter storm on record. Kim Flores: And the crazy thing or the amazing thing or the amazing crazy thing is all these people in that exact moment can experience happiness and well being in their minds, which takes me to my second point. Kim Flores: The sustainable design of happiness with all those events I mentioned here is the interesting and challenging part. Kim Flores: Our brain tries to make sense of these outside events that are happening to us in order to build the foundation of sustainable happiness, the only problem is, is that this is not a solid foundation at all ne ne.
Kim Flores: Our beautiful brains perceive the correlation of happiness and the event as cause and effect our brains constantly connoisseur and mislead us. Kim Flores: That certain external events determine our happiness, so when things happen, like the pandemic happen, we believe we can't be happy because of these outside external forces, but this is not accurate. Kim Flores: Based on Dr Luba Mirsky a research with trump determines our happiness is called the 40% solution the 40% solution for the people in the back 40% solution, so if you think of your happiness as a pie. Kim Flores: 50% of your happiness is pre determined by your mama and your Daddy or a combo you can't control that like your height. Kim Flores: Then you still have another 50% and here is what's interesting about this 10% that only 10% of the variance in our happiness level is explained by the differences of life circumstances. Kim Flores: or situations such as our new richer your poor are you how are you wealthy or rich or poor, are you sick or you're healthy.
Kim Flores: Are you beautiful or you're not everybody's beautiful, are you married or you're single so it's only 10% So if you take that away you still have 40%. Kim Flores: And that big whopping 40% of potential happiness can be activated by are intentional and consistent activity. Kim Flores: That means that 40% we get to take the wheel and drive down the path to our happiness, which brings us to the transportation of happiness.
Kim Flores: And all we have to do is focus on a few things now when it comes to these activities, you don't have to try to do them all or do them all, at the same time. Kim Flores: You just need to do some of them for 21 days so to peace, to yourself 21 and do them until they become natural like putting gas in your car or air in your tire. Kim Flores: Now, you may ask which ones, you should use but remember you are an expert on you trust your gut trust your intuition and see which ones work for you, but i'm going to blow your mind, you have already been doing them, based on the pole that we just did. Kim Flores: On the pole we talked about learning new things resilience gratitude, one of the activities that Dr libera libera Mirsky recommended is developing strategies for coping. Kim Flores: And you have already been doing this by learning new things, which is also a growth mindset thinking about navigating and wearing your mask all the time, are also thinking about rationing toilet paper. Kim Flores: yummy and when it comes to resilience, well, I want to say that here's how I know that you're resilient.
Kim Flores: Each one of you are still here today. Kim Flores: And you have managed to stay alive during the last 12 months of a raging and ongoing pandemic. Kim Flores: And that resilience is something to be truly grateful for so take a big deep of gratitude for that. Kim Flores: And Those are just a few things that you can do that can activate that 40% of potential happiness. Kim Flores: Other things you can do or practicing acts of kindness nurturing social relationships learning to forgive including yourself.
Kim Flores: increasing flow experience Those are the things that you do and time gets lost savoring life's joy's committing to your goals practicing spirituality meditation physical exercise. Kim Flores: cultivating optimism and acting like a happy person, and when I mentioned things about happy acting like a happy person there's normally a couple of people that are like. Kim Flores: i'm not a happy person i'm a D person intellectual person and then somebody will show a box of kittens or someone will show them a cat dressed up like a taco and it's like.
Kim Flores: Oh, my God it's a taco cat and taco cat backwards is taco cat and then they're enjoying bliss and they're happy so be like that person do more of that. Kim Flores: And as human beings and social creatures, we need connection, this is how we thrive and when we couldn't see each other and travel during the pandemic we suffered and felt pain, because we're all interconnected. Kim Flores: But here's how we can share happiness and well being outside ourselves. Kim Flores: If we can start with our minds and understand that happiness is not outside of us and practice a few things for at least 21 days to activate that potential happiness, we can travel down the road to happiness and then share that map of wisdom to those around us and those who we love.
Kim Flores: our minds body and souls are the microcosms of our communities and cities we live in. Kim Flores: And when we have stress and unrest within us this energy continues to flow in our environment, but the opposite is also true. Kim Flores: When we experience happiness and well being in our bodies this energy travels into our communities and cities. Kim Flores: The road to happiness and well being may begin with our brain and travel to our gut to do the next right move, but it is always in the heart we're happiness and well being reaches its final destination. Kim Flores: Thank you and i'm grateful for all of you.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Thank you, Kim so much, I mean I know i'm going to be leaving the event here today feeling so happy and so grateful really for. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Everyone who joined us for all of our esteemed panelists for una USA for allowing us to host this amazing presentation. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: We are unfortunately running short on time, but I will do a quick plug For those of you who do have follow up questions, please join you in a usa.org.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: We will be a we have an amazing slack channel, where all the global goals ambassadors myself and Ahmed included. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: are able to put you in touch with our esteemed panelists or answer any further questions that you may have I see adda is definitely putting a plug for any. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Civic engagement that you would be willing to do by texting or members of Congress to uphold our country's commitment to achieving the St g's and, by extension, of course, mental health and happiness. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: So with that, I would just like to give a short closing remark today Marie-Christine showed us how despite the misconception that money can buy happiness. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: After a certain point happiness plateaus something, known as the easterling paradox she also told us three principles that we can practice daily to practice contentment and achieve happiness. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: One train attention away from comparisons that hurt you in the long run to train your attention towards gratitude and three practice mindfulness.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Robert demonstrated simple ways that we can change our behavior by changing our environment, incorporating a biofilm design into our lifestyle, especially in a time when we are indoors. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: And how attention to these details and acting with intention can help us feel happier in our everyday lives. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Zenobia showed us how we can be more mindful in our daily transportation methods and she lent and insight as to incorporating happiness into future public transportation design. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Again shameless plug for you in a USA we can become more civically engaged to continue keeping happiness at the forefront of those transportation changes. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Finally, our passionate Kim Flores reminded us that response and doing action for what is right will help us achieve happiness and positive well being. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Once life is good meaningful and worthwhile we find our self actualize selves and happiness and well being.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: To achieve the transportation of happiness for 21 days stay consistent and intentional with two things, and you will find a bit more gratitude and mindfulness in that way. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: In order to build sustainable happiness into our cities and communities and in these uncertain and challenging times, especially. Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: We must control the degrees of freedom we have and be cognizant of those things in our control to bring about not just happiness, but inspiration.
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Practice gratitude choose to walk or bicycle and good weather add some green or scenes of greenery to your vision board, and I hope everyone here leaves feeling a bit more inspired and a bit happier today so Thank you everyone.