Toward a holistic sustainable and happy neighborhood development assessment tool: A critical review of relevant literature

Scott Cloutier, Erica Berejnoi, Steven Russell, Beth Ann Morrison, Allison Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Holistic ecological indices can integrate the ways in which humans derive happiness (both pleasure and meaning) as either extractive, balanced, or regenerative processes. This critical review paper describes the need for and initial development of a new comprehensive research assessment tool for sustainable and happy neighborhoods: the Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness assessment (SNfHa) Tool. The SNfHa builds upon the foundation of the Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness Index (Cloutier et al., 2014a) and associated Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness projects (Cloutier and Pfeiffer, 2015; Pfeiffer and Cloutier, 2016). We first provide a critical literature review of the most relevant quantitative and qualitative measures within five domains: happiness, and ecological, economic, social, and cultural sustainability, to inform the development of a comprehensive assessment tool. Next, we provide brief insight on a neighborhood development project where the tool is being applied to assess the promotion of happiness through ecological, economic, social and cultural sustainability. The tool can also be applied in future Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness projects. Ultimately, we suggest that sustainable neighborhood development should promote the pursuit of happiness while regenerating local economies and ecosystems, rekindling or enhancing social connections, and revitalizing or maintaining desired cultural traditions. We need holistic indices that can promote the growth toward such a vision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-149
Number of pages11
JournalEcological Indicators
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Framework
  • Happiness
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable development
  • Sustainable neighborhoods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Toward a holistic sustainable and happy neighborhood development assessment tool: A critical review of relevant literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this