Dongcheng Happyness Mapp
In Denmark as well as in China economic growth has been the overriding political agenda for more than a decade. In the past quarter century China’s real GDP per capita has multiplied over five times, but there is no hint in GDP of how the enormous structural changes impacted people’s lives. In contrast SWB, individual well being, is on average, less than a quarter of a century ago.
Measuring SWB has a better chance at capturing the new concerns that emerged from Chinas unprecedented transition.
In this light Maja did a mini Mental Map of Dongcheng District – one of the most diverse districts of Beijing, during a one-month residency in may 2018. Through text and image she portrayed 20 people that represent as diverse a group possible in terms of lifestyle, occupation, income level, age, gender, and character:
A philosopher, a student returned from the US, a Cat Café owner, a model, an advertising agent, a banker, a hairdresser, a retired soldier, a civil servant, a cultural heritage officer, a feminist, a Chinese medicine practitioner, a green peace campaigner, a transgender person, a journalist, an architect, a disabled person, a 96 year old woman, a nurse, a musician, a migrant worker, and a teacher.
The portraits form a snapshot of some of the central issues concerning individual happiness. Issues concerning lost ideology, private/public ownership, identity confusion, intergenerational disputes, migration impacts, work and marriage pressure, pollution, LGBT rights, loss of built heritage, old age etc.