Month: July 2015

Beyond GDP: The economics of human wellbeing

Jan Emmanuel De Neve from our cross cutting evidence programme shows the very latest data and insights on the relationship between happiness and economic growth in this new TEDx talk. Many global institutions and governments use GDP as a measure of social progress and development, although the creator of GDP said it was not designed to be used this way. The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income. Simon Kuznets on GDP and well-being in 1934. Simon Kuznets, 1934. “National Income, 1929–1932”. 73rd US Congress, 2d session, Senate document no. 124, page 7. Distinctions must be kept in mind between quantity and quality of growth, between its costs and return, and between the short and the long term. Goals for more growth should specify more growth of what and for what.” Simon Kuznets in 1962. The conversation has recently focused on ‘beyond GDP’ and finding new measures of what matter to people.  Wellbeing is increasingly being used a measure of social progress and in this talk Jan explores the economics of wellbeing.  ...

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Community Wellbeing: Creating Pro-Social Places

Our guest blog sets out ideas for creating Pro-Social places in a paper originally produced for the Urban Design Group Directory 2015-17 Rhiannon Corcoran is a professor of psychology and Graham Marshall is an award winning urban designer and a visiting senior research fellow; both at the University of Liverpool Institute of Psychology, Health and Society. They co-direct the Prosocial Place Programme with the aim of understanding and addressing the pernicious impacts of low-resource urban environments on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities with the aim of developing an evidence-based approach to urban design. Professor Corcoran is part of the Centre’s team looking at community wellbeing. To support the collective social wellbeing set out in the Marmot Review, Fair Society Healthy Lives (2010), we need to foster a culture that regards and manages places as essential infrastructure. We have entered a critical era where greater thought leadership in our place-making culture is essential. Dubbed “Toxic Assets” by CABE, Britain’s poorly performing urban places and communities continue to absorb much of our GDP, where land, places and people are exploited and treated like commodities. In his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, Jarred Diamond discusses the dangers of continued exploitation and the outcomes for societies that could not change their behaviour patterns: certain extinction. With expenditure outstripping income, we have entered a long period of...

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Dance to Health

Tim Joss Chief Executive and founder of AESOP: Well-evidenced but not working – a story of older people’s falls. Picture someone in their 80s. Someone you know. Suppose they have a bad fall. Worse – they’re on their own, they’re in pain, they can’t get up, and they can’t reach a phone. Older people’s falls cost the NHS £2.3 billion per year. They are the most frequent and serious type of accident in people aged 65 and over. They can be traumatic, destroy confidence, increase isolation and reduce independence. After a fall, an older person is 50% likely to...

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Dance to Health through an evidence based intervention

One of our evidence programmes is looking at the impact of  Culture and Sport on wellbeing, a key element of this will be participation in cultural and sporting activities. Our newest pioneer case study is from Tim Joss, founder of AESOP, a social enterprise  (‘arts enterprise with  social purpose’) who are kicking off Dance to Health : 10 pilots to deliver fall-prevention exercises to older people through group dance. → be one of our wellbeing...

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What's happening now?

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing now has its Board and five teams – four evidence programmes and the central translation hub. Over the next six months we are 1. Doing the job of the Centre by starting to share early evidence and tools grow the evidence base by helping with wellbeing evaluation share learning from pioneers in the case studies connect people up and work together on shared questions 2.  Getting out to understand further as much as we can about your priorities for evidence synthesis, data analysis and what else you need, to understand what we can do in the UK to improve wellbeing. This is to ensure that the evidence work we do is as relevant as possible and the needs and interests of users and stakeholders are at the heart of what the centre does. Each of the teams are doing this. Contact to take part This includes listening to how people across the UK  think and talk about wellbeing and what matters to them in the public dialogues. It will result in a synthesis of end user engagement which will be the basis of how we prioritise the centre’s workplan of what reviews, analysis, tools and services we do over next three years. 3.  Understanding further how we can translate wellbeing evidence and practice so that it is accessible and easy to use in taking action to...

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