The Western world's common understanding of well-being has been shaped by societal ideas that long-term happiness is achieved by satisfying and securing certain needs (Maslow's hierarchy of needs). These needs have been shaped by physical necessities as well as perceived needs and desires. This perception of well-being is problematic because it bases our well-being on circumstantial factors rather than identifying it as something that exists within ourselves, as a 'state of mind.' Unfortunately, we often see the effects of this in commerce and many similar public places. We have deeply ingrained behaviors that we need to understand in order to improve our contemporary public spaces, consumption patterns, and interactions.
Now we need to create new needs that are not based on self-fulfillment, we need to create new ways to meet and develop sustainably together successfully. Today, we can see innovation in making our unsustainable behaviors more sustainable (such as secondhand shopping), but we miss out on a significant opportunity for both sustainability and our own well-being. Public spaces should be dedicated to creating situations where we perceive our own well-being through the total experience of ourselves in relation to everything else in our environment, through each other and our planet. Through a presence that is not only directed towards participation but also signifies a quality of the personal experience, we can enable users to develop behaviors that promote well-being for themselves, their fellow humans, and their entire surroundings.
By creating presence when we share situations with others, we can create alternative public spaces and locations where we can meet, socialize, be active, and take care of each other and our belongings. Additionally, we can find profitable ways to consume sustainably together by repairing, being creative together. By having the opportunity to care for our belongings and our fellow humans, these qualities and behaviors are strengthened within ourselves, which naturally influences our other individual lives.
Don't hesitate to contact ELAK if you would like to discuss alternative concepts and programs for your public space!
Kvarterets hållbara verkstad
Kollage, Balticgruppen och Change the game - workshop, Kvarteret Utopia, Umeå