Santa Monica competes for $5 million to measure residents' well-being

A view of Santa Monica, CA.
A view of Santa Monica, CA. cariberry/Flickr/Creative Commons

Often referred to as the "People's Republic of Santa Monica" because of its progressive government, the Los Angeles coastal city now wants to find out whether its citizens are feeling groovy.

Santa Monica officials are seeking a grant to create the nation's first municipal well-being index, the Los Angeles Times reports, and they're one of 20 finalists for Bloomberg Philanthropies' first-ever Mayors Challenge.

“We’re thrilled to have the chance to work with Bloomberg Philanthropies on our wellbeing (sic) concept,” Mayor Richard Bloom said in a statement. "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. This award process has already pushed us closer toward those goals."

City officials and Rand Corporation researchers propose tracking the physical health, social connectedness and community resilience of residents. The index is designed to update the "city's definition of success and the way it does business," according to the Mayors Challenge website. The ultimate goal is to show a notable increase in well-being in five years.

Santa Monica made the proposal in hopes of winning a $5 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. It's one of 20 Mayors Challenge finalists named last week.

The city has already completed a youth well-being study that found most students were healthy and felt safe at school.

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