Volunteer group wants opinions from St. John’s residents on what makes a happy city

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Daniel MacEachern
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A St. John’s volunteer organization wants to know: What makes a city happy?

That’s the question Happy City is asking St. John’s residents this summer ahead of the upcoming municipal election, as it launches its “My Happy City Is …” campaign at public events around the capital. With funding from the United Way and a partnership with D.C. Design House, the organization is seeking opinions on what they want to see in St. John’s, said Happy City chairman Josh Smee.

“We think it’s a neat question to be able to ask people,” said Smee. “We want to get people thinking. It’s an election year, obviously, so it’s a good chance to get people thinking about what kind of city they want to be living in, and that question lets people talk about it in whatever way they want.

“Some people will give you a really big answer, about how they want their happy city to be ‘clean’ or ‘bright,’ but people can also give us, and have been giving us, very specific answers. Their happy city might have a better public transportation system, or something like that.”

The idea is to get people thinking about what they’d like to see St. John’s become.

“The city is changing a lot; that’s one of the reasons Happy City exists, is to get people talking about how that’s happening. So it’s a good chance for us to get out and hear that directly from people, and then it gives us a big treasure trove of material that we can do something with.”

Happy City hopes to release some summaries of the responses gathered, because he said it’s important for both voters and politicians to hear what people are saying about what they want for the city.

“As we go through the process, there are going to be trends that emerge, and we’d like to be able to come out and say, ‘This is what people are telling us across the city, about the city of St. John’s. So we’re going to be putting out releases and some short summaries of what people are saying.

“We’re going to be doing videos — we’ve got a little bit of funding to do some video productions, so we’ll be doing videos and posters and things that can be shared online, just to get the conversation going.”

This summer, Happy City will be at:

— Victoria Park Lantern Festival, July 27

— Happy City event at Virginia Park Community Centre, July 28

— St. John’s Regatta, Aug. 7

— Busker’s Festival, Aug. 10

— Eastern Edge barbecue, Aug. 16

— Happy City event at the Autism Society, Aug. 17

— Festival of Friends, Logy Bay, Aug. 18

— Nickel Film Showings, Aug. 21-22

— RIAC Summer Cultural Days, Aug. 24

— Happy City event at Mews Centre

dmaceachern@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Happy City, United Way, Design House Virginia Park Community Centre Autism Society

Geographic location: Victoria Park, Logy Bay

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