I guess this title may look a bit out of place in a blog dealing with technology evolution but as I was searching the web to preparing for a talk on smart cities I noticed that there is a very week correlation between being smart in a technology sense and being a city where citizens are happy. I would have loved to see that the more technology, the more advanced and the more pervasive the better (smarter) the city environment and hence the happier its citizens.
Well it turns out that's not the case.
The city that is at the top of the happiness ranking according to GfK research is Rio de Janeiro, a city that clearly is not at the top of technology penetration (lagging behind most Westerns Countries in terms of broadband penetration, health care, ...).
Ranking of Italian Municipalities in terms of smartness does not match with happiness of the citizens...
Asking citizens what makes their life a happier one result in different rankings, depending of the geographical area, in Italy, as in several European Countries, quality of relationships is at the top, in Japan it is the sense of security. Wealth is not making the first places anywhere and technology is basically never mentioned. Education, on the contrary is very often among the first 3 desirable components of a happy life.
A research published by OECD in 2014 to measure the happiness of citizens included as parameters housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance. You may want to take a look at the document.
Technology plays "behind" the scene and indeed can contribute in many ways to better life condition but it is important to remember it is just a tool, it is not the goal.