2015 - 2016

New Subjectivities

Ashleigh James (2nd Year)

Public Happiness: A Sanatorium for the City

The past two decades have seen a surge in the importance of happiness at the level of the individual, nation and globe. Internet searches for happiness have tripled since 1998, Google has appointed a chief happiness officer and the UN has acknowledged the pursuit of happiness as a fundamental human goal. Yet the happiness movement’s remedies fail to address the individual complexities and subtleties necessary for authentic long term happiness, and instead cash in on it’s commercial potential with short term, superficial fixes. As our definition of health widens to include happiness and emotional well-being, we find ourselves at a critical junction where the happiness movement is reshaping our healthcare institutions both ideologically and spatially. Institutionalising happiness under the wider umbrella of public health provides an opportunity to counteract binary interpretations of happiness and address the underlying drivers of our unhappiness. The project cross programmes transport infrastructure with a healthcare facility, a sanatorium. Driven by light, vegetation and social interaction, the design challenges societal norms of what healthcare and infrastructural spaces look like and provide for; creating accessible and emotional well-being services within the city that embrace a broad definition of happiness.


Find out more about Ashleigh’s topic with the research article ->

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