The Nationalisation of Happiness in The UK: The Institute of Happiness

Mental health is often framed in individual terms with individual solutions but rising levels of depression, anxiety and stress across society make it clear we need political answers.  Due to the lack of intervention and prioritisation of the economy over people at a political scale the inequalities continue to grow leading to a more polarised society, with marginalised people most at risk.

This project exists 100 years in the future when society has reached breaking point. With protests turning into riots leading to a complete deconstruction of society as we know it,  all political and capitalist systems in place are broken. In this imagined future new systems are put in place in order to reach a more inclusive and equal society, which prioritises people above all else.

This imagined future is explored through the nationalisation of happiness in the UK. A new political system is constructed in a post-captialist society built around Bhutan’s gross national happiness principles: Ecology, Education, Community, Health, Living Standards and Governance.

To achieve this a network of happiness is established throughout the UK using the ruins of town halls damaged during the riots a hundred years ago. The hub of this network is the Institute of Happiness residing in the ruins of the Houses of Parliament.  The new political process is centred around equality and inclusion with each happiness principle providing a pavilion for the public to discuss ideas and concerns with their elected representatives around the subject.  These representatives can then discuss these ideas in the main debate space designed to promote the transparency of the political process. This helps to contribute to the overall happiness of the actors within this project at a personal scale as well as including them within the political process to create a more equal system at a wider scale.