AMES, Iowa — What does sustainability have to do with happiness? A lot, according to Arizona State University researchers who study the connection between issues of sustainability and human/community well-being.

Scott Cloutier — an assistant professor in the ASU School of Sustainability and a senior sustainability scientist in the university’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability — and Beth Ann Morrison, a doctoral student working with Cloutier to establish the Happiness and Sustainability Research Lab, will present a workshop and lecture Monday, Feb. 19, at Iowa State University. Cloutier and Morrison will lead a workshop on “Linking Sustainability and Happiness” from 2 to 4 p.m. in the ISU Design on Main classroom and speak about “Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness” in a public lecture at 6 p.m. in the Design on Main Gallery, 203 Main St., Ames.

The two will introduce the Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness Index (SNHI), meant to assess a neighborhood’s opportunities for happiness via sustainable design. They will then highlight the Sustainability through Happiness Framework as a participatory, neighborhood-based research process undertaken by students and a research team in close collaboration with community partners.

They will conclude by sharing new conceptualizations on assessing community development and design programs meant to simultaneously enhance sustainability and happiness.

About the speakers

Cloutier developed the SNHI and leads the Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness project — a multi-year research, teaching and applied sustainability-solutions effort to improve neighborhood well-being and the happiness of residents. He works in neighborhoods in Arizona, Guatemala and Denmark. He is the founder of the Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness Research Consortium and a member of the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience advisory board (Ketchum, Idaho) and Happiness Alliance board of directors (Seattle).

Cloutier received a Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering in 2008 and a Master of Science in civil engineering in 2010, both from the University of New Hampshire, and a PhD in biological and environmental engineering from Cornell University in 2014.

Morrison focuses on the effects of the built environment on human values, well-being, habits and relationships. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Maryland Institute, College of Art, and exhibited her work regularly in New York City, on the East Coast and internationally for 12 years, winning several juried awards and commissions.

In 2012, she resumed her studies at New York University’s Gallatin School in a self-titled program, Urban Sustainable Community Development, that combined green urban design, community arts and social science. She transferred to Los Angeles to complete a Master of Fine Arts in Public Practice at Otis College of Art and Design in 2016, and has since completed one year of PhD studies at the ASU School of Sustainability.

Cloutier and Morrison’s visit is cosponsored by the OPN Interdisciplinary Studio Fund, Bryce and Rita Pearsall Fund, Department of Architecture, ISU Office of Sustainability, and the sustainable environments and urban design graduate programs.


Mimi Wagner, Sustainable Environments, (515) 294-8954, mimiw@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu