Why Happy City developed the Thriving Places Index

The Thriving Places Index (TPI) is designed to challenge the current paradigm that sees societal progress only through a monetary lens. The current logic says that if somewhere is making money, it’s doing well. But that’s only part of the story. A focus on consumption and economic growth as an end in itself has delivered neither equitable nor sustainable wellbeing across the whole of society.

The money generated in a local area, region, or country by economic activity (known as Gross Domestic Product or GDP when it’s measured at the national level) isn’t always distributed fairly. Not everyone wins either financially or in terms of their wellbeing, just because more money is being circulated in a local or national economy.

Even though the global economy has doubled in 25 years, carbon emissions have gone up 40%, and 60% of our ecosystem has been degraded. Inequality is reaching such epic proportions that the top 1% now have more money than the bottom 99%. This global trend is repeated at national and local level here in the UK and elsewhere. Clearly, the idea that the more money we make the more we all prosper doesn’t hold up in practice.

The Thriving Places Index is a comprehensive picture of what we need to thrive

The TPI helps us understand how to create fair, supportive and pleasant places to live by looking at a much broader picture of what people actually care about. We care about feeling safe, we care about being healthy, and we care that other people who live with us have access to these things too. What makes somewhere a great place to live isn’t just dependent on how wealthy an area is.

The TPI challenges the idea that the more money we make, the happier we all are by showing that:

The Thriving Places Index points to a new way forward

The Thriving Places Index is the first consistent and accessible framework that uses local indicators to measure progress on supporting the wellbeing of all citizens, now and in the future. The TPI helps us see what what we need, and points us in the direction of travel for meeting these needs. It shows us what’s already going well, and what isn’t going so well and paints a more holistic picture of how different areas ‘are doing’.

It aims to play a part in putting far more of what matters most to people’s lives at the heart of our decision-making in all sectors and in all regions of the country. By making what matters more visible the Thriving Places Index can support change-makers from all walks of life to implement and monitor policies and actions that support real progress in people’s lives.