Happy Homes: Building Sociability through Multi-Family Housing

An Interactive Toolkit

Written by Paige Waldock

July 8, 2019

Happy City, a consultancy group based out of Vancouver, is endeavoring to help solve the growing social disconnection between people living in cities today. Happy City is a group founded on the principles of the book of the same name. (Happy City the book was written by Charles Montgomery and is a great read for anyone who wants to know more about the psychology of a city). Their latest work was a two phased project called Happy Homes and Designed to Engage. The results of this project are summarized through two reports and an interactive toolkit that makes building design suggestions and policy recommendations to increase the social connection between neighbours living in multi-family buildings and their larger community. The reports are really interesting and, if you want to read more about them, you can find them by clicking the reports below:

The Happy Homes Interactive Toolkit is an interactive tool that allows the user to explore different actions and rationales that can be implemented to improve the living space in multi-family homes. The actions are based on ten main principles of social well-being.

When I sat down with my colleagues from CCOC to discuss this, we looked at the Centretown area and found examples of many of the ideas that were being suggested. By finding real life examples, it truly brought the ideas to life. But the best way to learn about the toolkit is to experience it for yourself. As you look through the toolkit, try finding examples of the actions in your community. Does your neighbourhood have a community garden? Could it? The best thing about this project is that it starts a conversation about how we can work together with our neighbours, landlords, and our community to create a better place to live.

By looking through the ‘Doing things together’ principle, you would learn that buildings should try to implement community gardens because people feel more connected when they can work together as a part of a larger cause. The toolkit is full of ideas like this that strive to fix the growing disconnection between people.

Paige Waldock

Development Project Coordinator

July 8, 2019