Reasons to Smile in 2008

Neal Peirce reflects on the happier moments of 2008 -- and a future that seems bent on creating better places and communities.

"It's time to celebrate happiness. The chemistry of positive, joyful human interaction. Physical spaces that help lighten lives."

"Another shift in 2008 could have lasting consequences for a happier society. Put briefly, it's a new premium on quality spaces. It's the death of our decades-old notion that all a city needs to do is offer developers and businesses cheap land and a complacent labor force, and that fresh investments and "success" will follow."

"Today there's palpable hunger for more liveliness and connectedness than isolated shopping malls, subdivisions or office parks typically offer. It's for upbeat gathering spots, coffee shops, people-filled parks, in-town concert halls, outdoor art exhibits, farmers' and Christmas markets. It's the spark of a shared civic realm that such non-profits as Partners for Livable Communities and the Project for Public Spaces have been advocating for years–their message newly popular as an entertainment-jaded nation starts to wake up what links us, not what separates us."

Full Story: Through the Dark Clouds: Happiness in ‘08

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