An easy and effective way to Happy Urban Centers!
The most important role of any human civilization is to create a society that is progressive, happy, healthy and has the least crime rates. It has been well documented that the path to happiness starts with being productive. If any being has a job and feels happy doing it or feels his importance in the contribution towards the maintenance of the society, that individual will be happy. On the other hand, a nonproductive individual or an individual who does not seem to understand his or her role in the society will be disheartened, depressed and may resort to destructive behaviors.
It is a fact that societies that have higher joblessness have higher crime rates and more so particularly in poorly designed urban centers. Urban design and the Architectural environment plays a pivoting role in an Individual’s mental health. A well defined and interactive spaces that promote casual interaction and provides a sense of security and warmth go much further than creating a happier and healthier society.
It is therefore very important for Urban Designers and Architects to understand this crucial point and study it and use it for better urban centers. One of the ideas, even at the cost of sounding utopian is being discussed here. It is known that great cities need greater open and green spaces, most of the time these spaces are designed as a recreational park or an urban forest. If we could get the community to interact with these spaces and give them a sense of being productive at the same time, it will surely improve the lives of the citizens. Instead of simply creating open parks and gardens and urban forests, we can look at using these spaces in a more productive way. Let us design and build cities around actual working farms where farming activities are taken up by the community as a part of community service. These farms will be open to all the citizens and the people will be encouraged to partake in the farming activities. This will help in a lot of ways, for one the produce from these farms can be freely distributed to the community taking care of these farms, it will generate employment and will also act as a way of recreation. These urban farms will help in giving the people a sense of being connected with their land, of being directly involved in a productive work and give them a hands-on work experience which creates happy citizens.
When people create something, even if it is small but useful it has given them a great sense of satisfaction and pride, hence working on a farm will create a sense of doing something useful and generating food in the process will help alleviate the general sense of brood that the citizens so frequently encounter.
It need not be a full-time work, maybe working one day in a week on the farm will be enough and it can be on a rotational basis, encouraging young and old to be a part of this great service to themselves. Employers can be asked to give 1 week off for each employee to work on these farms as a part of their community service. This farm-related work should not be made boring or even mundane, but exciting and adventurous.
These open farmlands will also help to solve the problem of food storage and transportation, giving the community fresh and easy access to the food created by them. Generally, farms are self-sufficient and by bringing the farms into the urban atmosphere, we can try and work towards an urban sustainable model, wherein the energy generated from the farms can be used by the urban community and the waste recycled in the farm.
Yes, there will be a requirement of large open lands within the city, but it need not be a very large area, as the idea is not to fully grow all the crops but to create a sense of producing and interacting with nature. With modern farming technology, even small farms with lands of few acres can work wonders and infuse life into the city. There are examples of buildings being used as a farm, and with the proper design even built environments can be created towards this goal.
Young adults have a lot of energy and if this energy is not channelised properly, it is mostly misused and leads to crime, encouraging and sometimes coaxing the individuals to work on these farms will help them use their energy into something more productive, giving them a sense of purpose, reducing the crime rate in that area.
These farms can grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, and if large enough maybe grains, the possibilities are unlimited, we just need to make these Urban Farms a part of our Urban Ecosystem. These urban farms may not fulfill the food needs of the citizens, but will surely help in creating happiness amongst them.