Jul 30, 2014
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How You Feeling, Santa Monica?

City is gearing up to study residents' well-being as part of a national competition with a $5 million grand prize.

How You Feeling, Santa Monica?

Do you feel connected to your community? Can you handle everyday challenges or a natural disaster?

The city is working with RAND Corp. to create a well-being index that will measure residents' resiliency, physical health, social connectedness and overall quality of life.

The concept isn't new. Gallup-Healthway, for instance, has conducted massive surveys and created maps that show where well-being is highest and lowest around the country.

But Santa Monica wants to be the first local government agency to compile a municipal index. It's competing for a $5 million grand prize with 19 other cities that are finalists in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition created to inspire innovative ideas that improve city life.

According to the competition's website, Santa Monica's index will "reorient the city's definition of success and the way it does business based on this information." The goal is to see a measurable increase in well-being in five years.

"The Mayors Challenge has been a welcome opportunity to explore big picture ideas that are too often not pursued given the demanding pace of day-to-day business," Mayor Richard Bloom said in a statement.

The prizes—which also include four gifts of $1 million each—will be used to jumpstart the projects and will be announced next spring.

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