My research and personal experience point to the fact that the environment where one lives plays a big role for our well-being.
Some people are lucky to find a place to live that they love and where they thrive. Many other people, however, don't feel well where they live, and they struggle with jobs, relationships, health, etc.
Now most of us cannot just travel around the world and test hundreds of potential places to live. So what can be done to help the people who feel that they should move to another city?
One of the major projects we are pursuing here at Adelup is to build a tool that can help people find their right place in the world.
Because, from an urban planning perspective, you cannot build great cities (or companies for that matter) with the wrong people who don't feel energized in the place they live.
Know Where to Settle
Adelup aims at becoming settlement specialists, and we want to help people first identify where to settle, then help them make the most out of their chosen destination.
1. Find Your City Questionnaire
We just launched a first version of the "Find Your City Questionnaire", which covers aspects that people love in a city. Some of these aspects are obvious like climate, size, language, etc. And some are more subtle like the alignment of personal values with the values of the city (cultural fit). It also aims at helping you find a good fit between your career and chosen city.
Please write to us if you want us to send you the questionnaire. We also do coaching for those who are interested.
2. Find Your Neighbourhood
As so many people choose big cities to live in, the next question is which neighbourhood to settle in. If you are heading to Australia, you can check out the "Suburb Matcher" of settleto.com. For other countries, Adelup may do something similar soon, if clients think that this could be of value.
Once You've Settled
OK, so you've now found what you hope will become your own little heaven on Earth. A quick research on the Internet as well as our own experience has shown that the efforts from most landlords and city councils to help newcomers feel welcome in their town are fairly meager.
So Adelup wants to identify best practices for welcoming new residents and share with both landlords and councils.
3. Welcome & Information Guide from Landlord
Adelup can help landlords prepare quality contents for new tenants' guides. We see this as a win-win situation to avoid unnecessary big turnover and to help the tenants feel at home.
4. Welcome & Information Guide from City Council
A few councils already have some great information packages for new residents and we encourage other councils to follow their example. These guides are also useful for future residents' choice to settle there or somewhere else. It is an important document that gives a good hint on the quality of the local government.
A good example of a residents' guide is this one from East Gwillimbury in Ontario, Canada.
We believe that in the future, we will have more intentional community living with people who share our values or with whom we have something in common. There are several reasons for this.
1. To avoid loneliness - this is not only for elderly people who might be widowed, but even for young professionals who don't see the point of owning their own house or regular apartment. We believe the future is more about sharing than owning. See for example thecollective.co.uk, a community with many small apartments and bigger common areas.
2. To enrich your relationships. Even people who don't suffer from loneliness can enjoy meeting others when they come home after a day's work.
3. To save costs. There is a growing gap between what people earn and the cost of living, so community living is a more affordable way to live, that has additional benefits as well.
4. To avoid urban sprawl. This is especially a problem in countries like the United States or Australia. Avoiding urban sprawl is also good for the environment, and people living in communities will be more inclined to take public transport or use car sharing.
5. To avoid quarrels between neighbours. Whether we live in apartments or houses, wouldn't it be nice to get aong with our neighbours?
Our hunch about community living is consistent with The 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide which advocates for housing mix and states that "we need new models of housing" (p. 64).
Cities are not just buildings and streets. Cities are for people. And in this section we'd like to share with you some great inspiration sources from around the world which we believe enhance the quality of living in cities.
One of the first big inspiration sources that we would like to mention is Happy City Lab, which has come up with a lot of very creative ideas over the years to make cities more liveable.
Happy City Lab creates connection in shared spaces by surprising, innovating, getting people together, lighting up the night, etc. Here are some of their projects:
See also the Lilliput Libraries book exchange boxes in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Another great source of inspiration is Marcus Westbury's Renew concept which he describes in his excellent book Creating Cities. His basic idea is to revive commercial buildings that have stood empty for long periods of time by giving them rent-free to artists or entrepreneurs who want to test new ideas. This started in Newcastle, New South Wales with Renew Newcastle, and the concept was then copied in other cities, like for example Adelaide, where Renew Adelaide has now been operating successfully for many years.
If you come across great initiatives like this that you think we should list here, please send us a message.
Lilliput Libraries in Dunedin, New Zealand