Happitecture is the embodiment of harmony between place, humanity and ecology, where systems, beliefs and individual emotions are accommodated, leading to community briefs for action …
The concept of Happitecture establishes a gathering point for individuals and disciplines to promote collaborative contributions to informed, people-centred decision-making in architecture, urban design and planning.
The State of Bhutan pioneered an alternative assessment for the impact of government plans, based upon the precept that monitoring intangible elements like “citizen happiness” is more important than measuring fiscal gain. “Happinomics”, incorporating a Gross National Happiness Index (GNH), resulted.
The Happitecture study suggests a method for direct broad public engagement in advance of planning, which allows for individuals to capture and immediately convey emotions and experiences reflecting the values and qualities of particular spaces and places at different times of the day and the year. This results in a Space Happiness Index and an unfiltered record based on multiple user interpretations and opinions. The outcome is a people-generated planning brief, compiled over time, which replaces a sterile top-down brief based on snap surveys and generalised assumptions.
With assistance from the Urban Futures Centre, and using the DUT Campus as a “laboratory”, the Ushahidi Crowdmaps App was developed to generate HappiMaps. Using this App, people decide individually whether spaces and places are “happy” “neutral” or “unhappy”, and upload their reports accordingly. Videos and photos can be included. The accumulated records in the HappiMaps can be drilled down and analysed, generating clear patterns for unhappy areas requiring attention to improve quality, or finding happy spaces that need to be protected, replicated and expanded.
Happitecture and HappiMaps could form a starting point for people-centred planning and design.