Spring Garden Road, Halifax wellbeing assessment methodology

Happy Cities created a methodology for Halifax to study how a street transformation can support people’s wellbeing in public space.

Photo of Spring Garden Road prior to the street transformation. People walk along a busy street lined with shops. Most of the street space is still devoted to cars.
Spring Garden Road in Halifax, prior to the street transformation.

Spring Garden Road is central to Halifax’s identity as a great place to work, live, and play for visitors and residents alike. In 2021, this important commercial and residential corridor underwent a $10-million streetscape reconstruction project. Happy Cities was tasked with creating a methodology to evaluate the success of this street transformation in boosting people’s wellbeing.

To understand how Spring Garden Road’s transformation into a more people-friendly corridor may influence people’s sense of wellbeing, the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) hired Happy Cities to tailor our public space study methodology for the local context. Using our innovative and award-winning approach to studying the wellbeing impacts of public space interventions, the Happy Cities team translated HRM’s goals into metrics that demonstrate the street transformation’s impact on sociability, trust, inclusion, meaning and belonging. 

The final report outlines the study design and methodology for conducting behavioural observations and wellbeing intercept surveys. To capture the full effect of the street transformation, the report also compares results from before and after the project. Offering both rigorous and pragmatic approaches, our work culminated in a unique set of guidelines and recommendations that details how HRM can implement a public life study based on its constraints and available resources. 

The Spring Garden Road streetscaping project is an exciting part of HRM’s ongoing commitment to putting people first. With the results of this study, HRM will be able to measure the wellbeing impacts of its street upgrades and apply these learnings to future projects that will further benefit Haligonians as the city grows.

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