Happiness = a shorter commute

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Finally, scientific proof that bears out daily intuition: the longer your commute, the less happy you are.

Mark Easton of the BBC has written an excellent blog post summarising the findings by the New Economics Foundation in their most recent report Measuring our progress: The power of well-being. The report is as much an exercise in demonstrating how sustainability – financial and environmental – as a meta-narrative to social infrastructure is the way forward as an excuse for the annual ‘happiness is’ news cycle. It also says that you should get a goodly amount of sleep. And a bike.

While I do enjoy a well-written blog post / think tank report that paraphrases the proverbial papal affirmation of catholicism, I think it’s sad that it needs to be proven, quantified and presented for scrutiny. Surely it’s obvious that the longer you spend travelling into and out of work – in a limbo of neither work nor life for balance – the less happy a citizen you will be? Not to mention that an infrastructure that demands less commuting time of its worker bees and promotes better use of resources is a good idea?

Both Mark and nef’s report go into greater detail and I recommend reading them, but I do wonder what might come of this research. Perhaps we should take our placards to Parliament Square in defence of simpler rights, ones that government may be more amenable to grant: the right to pursue well-being. God knows none of our recent placards have been considered, and that’s hardly the sign of a healthy society.

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