Meet the City That Measures Smiles Per Hour

The Australian municipality of Port Phillip launched a social cohesion project, Smiles per Hour, to make their neighborhoods friendlier. Guess what? It worked.

Nov 19, 2014
Smiles per hour zone sign in Port Phillip, Australia.

The Smile per Hour smiling zone in Port Phillip, Australia. [ Photo from the blog From Where I'd Rather Be]

The Australian municipality of Port Phillip takes care of all the things a city needs from issuing permits to road maintenance. But Port Phillip had another important directive for its residents - smiling. 
The optimistic city initiated a social cohesion project titled Smiles per Hour which fell under their official Health & Community Safety plan. After receiving feedback from community members who stated that they wanted to live in friendlier neighborhoods, the idea for Smiles per Hour was devised in a bid to create a safer and more welcoming environment for local residents.  
Port Phillip took their initiative seriously, enlisting Smile Spy volunteers to measure how many folks were actually smiling. The Smile Spies would walk in a defined section of a street for a 15-minute period with a neutral expression on their face, counting how many times someone flashed them their pearly whites. The statistics and data were compiled up to the year 2012, showing which neighborhoods were the smiliest of them all and which areas could use a smile infusion. 
The upbeat project was a success, resulting in happier residents who were actively creating a friendlier local culture, one smile at a time. 

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