|Demi Remick dances during Somerville Porchfest 2011. (Erik Jacobs for The Boston Globe)|
There are plenty of light hearts in Somerville, where a recently released municipal survey revealed a happiness index of 7.5 on a scale of 10. It makes sense. The city boasts good transit, solid housing stock, nice places to hang out, and a municipal government that cares enough to ask, “How satisfied are you with Somerville as a place to live?’’
Mayor Joseph Curtatone likes to measure how city departments perform, so it was logical that he would measure the happiness of his constituents, too. But Curtatone wasn’t the first leader to come up with the idea. In the 1970s, the king of the tiny South Asian nation of Bhutan was promoting sky-high “gross national happiness’’ as his nation’s goal.
The problem with such measures is that it takes such a long time to go from misery to happiness, but just an instant to go the other way around. Just ask the thousands of Bhutanese of Nepalese descent who were expelled from the county in the 1990s. Somerville, of course, is a place known for reliable city services and tolerance, too. That will be just another reason for Somerville residents to smile when they get their next tax bill.