World Network of Happy Localities: CWIN 11

Created on 2020-03-28 15:26

Published on 2020-08-12 16:41

Smart Cities = Clever Cities
Intelligent Cities = Happy Cities

Dear All,

How to start the New Capacity Building Programme (NCBP) has always been a difficulty because the NCBP is based on interfaces, a notion that has been difficult to understand to this day for everybody whatever his/her background. Interfaces are so complex and have such vast applications that a whole two-week congress (the International Multidisciplinary Interface Research Congress: IMIRC. Not to confuse with the IMNRC) devoted to this topic was to have been organised in Beijing during the Chinese 2008 Olympic Games. During the final PART III of this Congress, the very avant-garde futuristic International Interface Research Centre (IIRC) was to be presented to the international community. The finality of the IMIRC was to explain to the World the fundamental importance of interfaces at all levels. This would have paved the way to the much needed fundamental mindset, education and governance revolution. In that order.

Everything was blocked by the Barroso Team at the European Commission who at the same time replaced the IIRC by the EIT that was presented as his “baby”, a shocking plagiarism. See:

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT): a Shocking Case of Plagiarism (20 February 2016)

This created enormous problems. The IMIRC was an essential introduction to the NCBP. Since the former was blocked, the NCBP became a terrible challenge because far too avant-garde for its time. It still is. Citizens, academia, politicians, institutions, financial stakeholders are used to short/medium term concrete tangible focussed projects, not to holistic multicultural integrated interdisciplinary combined short-medium-long term intangible-tangible programmes. Had the IMIRC taken place, the international community been able to familiarise itself with this notion of interface, the NCBP would have been far easier and less abstract to understand for everybody and the much needed fundamental educational revolution would have already taken place. Indeed, the Covid-19 Pandemic has painfully highlighted the fact that the Educational System worldwide is a global failure. Our civilisation is unable to understand let alone manage global complexity. See:

The World Educational System: From Fragmented Success to Global Failure (3) (4th July 2020)

The World was already undergoing, before the Covid-19 Pandemic, a terrible existential and trust crisis that was deep, underestimated and dangerous. It was already faced with a global network of interconnected global challenges that it was unable to manage. This was why the IMNRC offered to help with its NCBP, blocked by the UN/EU System. The result is a world crisis that is becoming out of hand. See:

Call To Citizens Of The World! (7nth August 2020)

If the World were my patient, the diagnosis would be “unhappiness”. Indeed, this is globally an unhappy World. How are you going to treat World unhappiness? You need to treat it at interconnected personal, neighbourhood, local, regional, national, continental and world levels. To do so, you first need a general consensus on the terminology. What “is” unhappiness? What “is” happiness? How are you going to find out? By a direct face to face and complementary virtual dialogue with the population, the citizens. How are you going to engage in a dialogue? Keep everything simple. “Are you happy? If yes, why? If not, why? What do you suggest?” This simple dialogue is essential to recreate a friendly atmosphere, to reconnect and perhaps unlock a locked in situation. By taking the trouble to listen to the citizens, talk to the citizens, listening to their interests, concerns, hopes and solutions (with nominal recognition if required), citizens become less apprehensive regarding the unknown and more open to innovative solutions that now stand a much better chance of social acceptance and corresponding to their needs. Convince them that there shall be practical action beyond the talking and the listening with no strings attached, and you shall recover lost trust. 

The World is an interconnected network of interconnected tangible and intangible networks. One of these is a Network of Localities. So the latter could perfectly well be considered as a starting point or framework for the NCBP. As you know, the Third Millennium’s top priority - achieving and sustaining the citizens’ Well Being and Quality of Life [WBQoL] (i.e. happiness) at interconnected personal, neighbourhood, local, regional, national, continental and world levels – is also the NCBP’s raison d’être. This is only possible if there is a world wide consensus on a highly articulate standard “definition” of WBQoL (i.e. happiness) and on a standard methodology for local --- > regional --- > national --- > continental --- > world society WBQoL Profile Assessment. Why? If there are different “happiness” definitions and different methodologies worldwide to assess the citizens’ WBQoL at different levels, this shall create further divisions and fragmentation, a chaotic database that would be impossible to interpret and constructively articulate together for practical concrete action. As just described above, this consensus can be found through direct interactive citizen participation that in turn – and this is essential – can recover lost trust without which any policy shall fail, whatever the programme, anywhere in the world; The rest is described and forms Part I of the World Society WBQoL Programme monitored by the NCBP. Please refer to the

IMNRC Brochure.

That’s for the diagnosis. How about the treatment? How do you treat an unhappy locality? You can’t just rely on technology only. Well, you first need to understand the locality as such - the patient in this case – how it functions, by identifying and disentangling the complex network of interacting tangible and intangible components that together make up this miniature world of its own that is that given locality and determine its inhabitants’ unhappiness/happiness. You must then remember that since everything is interconnected to everything, a locality (and its interacting tangible and intangible components) is also affected to a greater or lesser extent by nearby or very distant localities. So the locality WBQoL Profile that you shall create is in fact in equilibrium with all the other localities in the network of localities, changing all the time for the better or worse. Which is why the world network of happy localities needs to work together. The aetiological diagnosis of the locality’s unhappiness from a holistic multicultural integrated interdisciplinary perspective shall be complete, facilitating troubleshooting in situ and not out of context. An enormous advantage. But for a while only. Localities are complex dynamic systems that evolve through time. An aetiological diagnosis together with the appropriate treatment for a given locality cannot ignore the rest of the network of localities... So you need an appropriate methodology that can deal with this global complexity.

The number of unhappy localities (rural areas, villages, cities, towns) worldwide is indeed enormous. Each is different, the challenges are different, the atmosphere is different, the culture is different, the language is different, the mentality is different, the needs are different, ... If we begin dealing with all these localities in series, one at a time, or even in clusters, we shall need generations to see any impact on world society WBQoL. There is therefore a need to dramatically increase the pace at which we can restore happiness in localities wherever they are, bearing in mind that all are interconnected. This means setting up a highly articulate methodology that shall facilitate reaching an aetiological diagnosis for any locality anywhere in the world.

I would like to organise a meeting between all stakeholders interested in “Smart Cities” for different reasons to explore how such a methodology could be created, a kind of “kit” for aetiologically diagnosing and treating localities where needed. A first Pilot Locality could be chosen. You choose. We try out a methodology that bests identifies all the tangible and intangible components that affect the inhabitants’ well being in that first Pilot Locality. The methodology necessarily includes citizen participation. Once we have gathered all the data, we hopefully identify the culprit(s) and treat accordingly. We also critically analyse the methodology that was used, make corrections and refine it before applying it to another locality, maybe in a completely different geographic location. We again see what adaptations need to be made and refine it further. After an indeterminate number of Pilot Localities, the methodology may be considered sufficiently articulate and refined to be applied to any locality for a customised diagnostics approach and profile assessment. The team in charge of aetiologically diagnosing and treating a locality is called the Locality Diagnostics Unit (LDU).  

The IMNRC’s Pilot Scheme 1 Programme on Happy Localities that is embedded in the NCBP is an extension and more advanced version of a previous project on Smart Cities that was presented a few years ago called Pilot Scheme 1 Project on Smart Cities (I don't like this expression and prefer the term "localities"). The finality of a local project is after all to achieve and sustain the citizens’ happiness in their own locality. So the finality of local projects in a network of localities is to achieve and sustain the citizens’ happiness in each of the localities in the network of localities. Try visualising the world as a vast network of localities... Now visualise the World as a network of interconnected people, neighbourhoods, localities, regions, islands, countries, continents... Finally, try visualising how this vast network is interconnected with nature on planet Earth and then with the whole Cosmos. Every “thing” is interconnected to every “thing”. 

The article is primarily addressed to all the colleagues who have privately expressed interest in collaborating in this initiative through PM. However, we are open to explore synergies and collaboration perspectives to all stakeholders interested in a full blown holistic multicultural integrated interdisciplinary approach to "Smart Cities". I may be contacted directly. Once we have a list of confirmed interested participants, we shall see how to organise a meeting. The World situation is not at its best. We must trigger global collective coordinated action.


I just came across a very interesting article written by Professor Joseph Stiglitz "Measuring What Matters” in the Scientific American that seems to have been inspired from my own work (an e-mail I sent to him some time ago...). He is of course welcome.

The following points clearly stand out:

The fundamental importance of trust. Trust is lost. Without trust, any policy is unsustainable, whatever the programme, anywhere in the world
Our civilisation is not able to deal with global complexity
HOW can we practically achieve and sustain the citizens’ well being and quality of life at interconnected personal, neighbourhood, local, regional, national, continental and world levels? Nobody knows.
The SDGs are not the way
There is a need for a fundamental mindset revolution, a fundamental education revolution and a fundamental governance revolution. In That Order.

The New Capacity Building Programme (NCBP) shows HOW.

Best regards,


Professor Vivian R. F. Linssen D.I.


Founding Director & CEO

International Multidisciplinary Neuroscience Research Center a.s.b.l./v.z.w.

Principal Coordinator

NewPOL Network

Jesus-Eiklaan 120

BE-3080 Tervuren



Tel/Fax: +3227681730

Twitter: @VivianLinssen

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