Friday, September 04, 2009

Where in the world can you go to be happy?

This headline caught my eye because I must honestly say; I did not believe the good ole USA would make that list. I was wrong. Although no US cities ranked among the top 5, we did make it to 7. Guess what? It's San Francisco! Hey, when I think Frisco I think fun. That's what this survey was about, Perception not Reality. We all want happiness but it’s mainly out of reach for most... I'm talking about the average bloke, not the rich
buggers who look down their noses at the rest of us. Our only purpose to these guys... is to wait on them hand and foot. But I digress; Happiness is elusive to us in the states because, We’re too busy scrapping with one another! And if that’s not bad enough? We’re encouraged to do so by those we elect as leaders. How sad is this? As Rodney King (A victim of police brutality.) had asked so long ago, WHY CAN'T WE JUST GET ALONG? Sorry to say, we can’t! Americans rather Brawl not Party. Too bleak for me;

See You in Rio!


The world's happiest cities

by, on Wed Sep 2, 2009 by Zack O'Malley Greenburg

Ten urban centers closely associated with unmitigated joy.

Ever since Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appeared in the 1933
film Flying Down to Rio, the world has been fascinated with Rio
de Janeiro. Popular perception of the city is infused with images
of starry-eyed youngsters dancing into the dusk, backed by
imposing mountains and dark sea.

That view has propelled Rio to the top of our list of the world's
happiest cities. Famous for its annual Carnaval festival
(starting Feb. 13 next year), the second-largest metropolis in
South America finished first among 50 cities in a recent survey
conducted by Simon Anholt, an author and policy adviser.

"Brazil is associated with all these qualities of good humor
and good living and Carnaval," says Anholt. "Carnaval
is very important--it's the classic image that people have of
Rio, and it's an image of happiness."

Next on the list is the top city from Down Under: Sydney,
Australia. Known for balmy weather, friendly locals and an iconic
opera house, Sydney fared well in Anholt's survey because of its
association with a popular brand--Australia.

"It's where everybody would like to go," he says.
"Everybody thinks they know Australia because they've seen
Crocodile Dundee. There's this image of this nation of people who
basically sit around having barbecues."

Rounding out the top five are third-ranked Barcelona, Spain,
which Anholt calls "the classic Mediterranean city";
fourth-ranked Amsterdam, Netherlands, because Anholt's young
respondents "know you can smoke dope in the bars"; and
Melbourne, Australia, which makes the list simply because it's in Australia.

"People know it's in Australia, and that it's full of
Australians," says Anholt. "Therefore, it must be fun."

Behind the Numbers

The data Anholt provided for our list is part of his Nation
Brands Index, which he developed in 2005. The latest incarnation,
the 2009 Anholt-GfK Roper City Brands Index, was released in
June. The data was compiled from online interviews with 10,000
respondents in 20 countries.

Happiness is difficult to quantify, and Anholt acknowledges that
his data is less an indicator of where local populations are
happiest than a reflection of respondents' thinking about where
they could imagine themselves happy.

"This is a survey of perception, not a survey of
reality," he says. "People write me all the time and
say 'that's not true.' It probably isn't true, but it's what
people think. The gap between perception and reality is what
interests city governments."

The French historian Fernand Braudel wrote that "Happiness,
whether in business or private life, leaves very little trace in
history." But a perception of happiness leaves a strong
trace on the balance sheets of cities that depend on conventions,
tourism and an influx of talent.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Anholt notes that the results of his survey reflect the
longstanding reputation of Mediterranean and Latin American
cities as non-stop party locales.

"It's pretty much the expected bunch," says Anholt.
"Though I'm a little surprised about Spain outdoing Italy.
It's interesting that the Spanish are perceived as being happier
than the Italians--I find the Spanish rather gloomy."

Still, Barcelona--Spain's highest-ranked city--has plenty of

"The beauty of the city and its environs, along with
affordable housing and business opportunities, is the fantastic
lifestyle," says Michelle Finkelstein, a vice president at
travel agency Our Personal Guest. "There's not the stress of
getting a child into the best preschool--the public ones are good
and close by. And they have the top soccer team and some of the
best weather in Europe."

Other places in the world that lack the metropolitan flair of the
cities on this list are often identified with the notion of
happiness. "Anyone lucky enough to visit the magical
Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan would know that there is no
competition: There can be no happier place," says Patricia
Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. "This
small Buddhist nation of incredibly stunning beauty follows a
unique guiding philosophy of GNH--Gross National Happiness. You
can see it in their open faces--they smile from the heart.
Barcelona has nothing on them."

Global rivalries notwithstanding, Anholt notes that his findings
more or less support historical trends, with one notable exception.

"The cities on this list would probably be the same if I'd
been running this survey in 1890, aside from Sydney and
Melbourne," he says. "Australia is kind of a branding miracle."

Not bad for a former penal colony.

Let's keep our heads, while we continue to
watch THE



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