Celebrating the Good Life: Turning Challenges Into Opportunities

It is in times like these that the longing for the good life becomes more prominent than ever and the need to shape a sustainable and inclusive future ever-more pressing. Our project Day of the Good Life exemplifies how engaged communities defy all odds, even the hurdles of a pandemic.

The month-long work of the project was celebrated with the final event on 20 June 2021 in Wuppertal. The event offered a platform for people and initiatives to voice views, share wishes and lay out visions for the sustainable future. Since its launch in 2020, the Day of the Good Life’s focus was to empower and enable citizens to take an active role in designing public space that reflects their needs and is sustainable and inclusive. The project also offered a platform for actors from civil society, businesses, culture, city administrations to join hands for a socially, economically and environmentally-sustainable city.

The mini-festival Place of the Good Life, held in August 2020 at the Platz der Republik in Wuppertal, attracted three hundred participants who participated in one of the thirty available activities, such as creating visioning walls together, discussions sustainable mobility, or outdoor yoga classes.

Following up on the Place of the Good Life event, neighbourhood meetings involved citizens in the Ostersbaum area of Wuppertal in preparing activities for the Day of the Good Life main event. To accompany citizens in the creative process of further developing their own visions for a good life in Wuppertal, online visioning walkshops were held. The goal was not only to support citizens in developing creative ideas to redesign their neighbourhoods, but also to enable them to bring those ideas to life by forming local groups. The walkshops were inspired by the methods of urban design thinking and strollology, the science and art of taking a walk.

To support the newly-formed groups, neighbourhood meetings were held each week to further develop ideas not only in view of the Day of the Good Life event, but for a long-term engagement. The implementation of the emerging ideas, such as murals, a public bookshelf, a mobility station (including a bicycle garage), and community cooking events were accompanied by local artists and craftspeople.

The Day of the Good life as the culminating event was held in a hybrid format, combining over 70 in-person and online activities. The rich programme included discussions on sustainability topics, art installations, music activities as well as vegan cooking shows. Workshops on native insects, waste collection campaigns, an anti-racism poetry slam, a personal bicycle route consultation, and concerts by local artists were just a few of the activities held under the Day of the Good life umbrella.

Beyond the Day of the Good Life, the products that were co-developed during the project’s course are there to stay and to be developed further. However, the project’s best legacy is a community empowered not only to overcome crises, but also of emerging from them stronger and more resilient than before.

The aim of the Day of the Good Life is to not only celebrate local solutions for a good life but to also strengthen citizens and civil society to initiate new movements and to turn this event into a continuous festival for all people in the city. If you want to get involved in activities toward the good life in Wuppertal, let us know. If this inspires you to replicate the success of the Day of Good Life in your city, let’s join hands now!

For more information contact Alexandra Kessler. 

Photo © TdgL Wuppertal 2021 / Alexandra Rosenbohm