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Sport, urban planning and global happiness

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Sport, urban planning and global happiness

"Mistrusting fellow citizens is dangerous. Kindness is the only way to true happiness."

A session on day two of the Peace and Sport Forum in Monaco focussed on “Translating sport into global happiness.” Facilitated by Isabella Burczak, advocacy manager for the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), Jorn Wemmenhove was among the speakers.

Wemmenhove is an “Urban Change Maker,” social entrepreneur and creative strategist. In 2005, he co-founded non-profit El Desafio Foundation, promoting youth development and local democracy in Rosario, Argentina. He also co-founded Humankind, “the agency for urban change,” an organisation that aims to create cities that are human and kind to ourselves, others and our planet.

He explained to the audience that, while the climate crisis is a major problem, it could also be a chance to rework current structures. Happiness has become an obsession, particularly in the west, as illustrated by the growth of the self-help industry. We should aim to create happiness for all and put humans at the centre of the global economic system. That is what he aims to do through Humankind.

As he explained:

Mistrusting fellow citizens is dangerous. Kindness is the only way to true happiness. Research shows the strongest predictor [of happiness] is the relationships we have with each other. We need to get the best out of human beings.

Key to that is creating cities that are worth living in. Urban planning should support happiness and wellbeing, through outdoor spaces for sport and play:

We need to bring people together by creating amazing public spaces that invite children to play freely. There is less and less place in our cities for free play, and children play outside less. We need to pay particular attention to minorities and the disadvantaged because these should be true public spaces.”  

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 11:05

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