Below I describe some conditions I believe contribute to quality of life. You may not agree with all of these, and I suspect you will have some great ideas of your own. Let me know your suggestions and we will improve the list together.
As you read these ideas, evaluate how well your town or city measures up.
- If your town lacks something, are there compelling reasons why it cannot be implemented?
- And if change is possible, can you help bring about a positive change? We can’t do everything, but everyone can do something.
What can you do to make life better where you live?
Make it easy for people to spend time outdoors because nature is restorative. Being outside also encourages physical activity, which contributes to longer lives and greater mobility as we age.
- Make room for parks containing open space. Plant trees along streets.
- Encourage walking by putting in sidewalks wherever possible and making more car-free pedestrian zones. This also makes pathways accessible to people with disabilities, families with strollers, and elderly with walkers, for example.
- Encourage biking with dedicated bike lanes in cities, and bike paths outside city centers, for example along rivers, fields, or old railroad tracks.
- Encourage other physical activities, via sports facilities and gyms, pools and lakes, sponsoring events, and forming and joining associations of like-minded people (walking or running clubs, etc.).
Make it easy for people to gather together because we are social and tend to become more generous and more grateful when we are reminded of our shared humanity.
- Parks and pedestrian zones are a great start, see 1 above. Also, broad sidewalks allow for restaurants and cafes to set up outdoor seating. Guests can both see and be seen, and people-watching is a great pastime.
- Have at least one auditorium for cultural events, concerts, comedians, and shows of all kinds.
- Have at least one venue for sports events, which may also serve as a location for other events.
Be Mindful Of Appearances
Even functional things can be beautiful. When we are surrounded by beauty in our daily lives, we remember that pleasure can come from small things. This helps us to appreciate life and not take so much for granted.
- Make streets and intersections beautiful. Trees or other greenery lining a street transform it into a place you want to walk along. Flowers on a street corner or hanging from a lamp post provide moments of joy because they are delicate, colorful, and show that somebody is paying attention.
- Ensure public spaces stay clean. A clean street with no litter not only looks good. It shows that people care about where they live and take care of shared spaces.
- Make public restrooms available and keep them clean and safe. This will add to quality of life well out of proportion to the effort of maintaining them.
Do you have other ideas you’d like to add? Please let me know and we’ll expand the list.