NYC –> Shanghai, 19 days! Come on Get Happy

August 22nd, 2013. 19 days.

Houston St. 2nd Ave. A little yellow shack.

2013-08-20 17.46.44On my way to Chinese class a couple of days ago, I came across this 12X12 canary yellow structure. 2013-08-20 17.47.41Nearly every day in NY, one comes across something that makes you turn your head – and oddly, the fact that you come to expect that starts to make these seem like mere commonplace occurrences that strike you as almost ordinary (i.e. you get accustomed to – almost expect – NYC oddities). But I felt compelled to take a picture of this particular idiosyncrasy – partly because of its proclamation, “Make it Happy,” and partly because I thought it’d make for good fodder for my blog. 🙂 While I didn’t have time to stop then, the trusty internet allowed me to explore this space further…So turns out “Let’s Make it Happy” is an “NYC-based social venture using happiness to unlock others’ gifts for the greater good.” According to their website, the organization aims to “cultivat[e] a global grassroots movement of social innovators who work to bring happiness to their own communities.” I think the underlying mission is not only a worthy one, but also a “simpatico” one – as part of the work I do focuses on harnessing the power of urban design to facilitate certain behaviors and feelings – happiness is certainly not the least of those! Some studies (e.g. here and here) have already shown the connection between the built environment and happiness. Case in point, by virtue of their presence at one of the busiest, least desirable intersections in the City, they are already helping to spread said happiness – despite the fact that New Yorkers have earned a reputation for being jaded, it’s hard to walk by this little shack and not feel bright, not smile, not be a little more happy. I look forward to learning more about this happiness project. And I hope to be able to visit this shack in the next 19 days!

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