May 2, 2007

Hell on earth

Port Phillip, Australia.
Port Phillip, an area covering some of the bayside suburbs of Melbourne, has been using volunteers to find out how often people smile at those who pass them in the street. It then put up signs that look like speed limits, but tell pedestrians that they are in, for example, a “10 Smiles Per Hour Zone.”


Some local governments see their role as being to provide basic services like collecting the trash and maintaining the roads – and of course, collecting the taxes to pay for this. Others promote the area’s economy, by encouraging industry to move to the area, thus increasing jobs and the local tax base.

The Port Phillip city government takes a broader and longer-term view. It wants those who live in the community after the present generation has gone to have the same opportunities for a good quality of life as today’s residents have. To protect that quality of life, it has to be able to measure all the varied aspects that contribute to it – and friendliness is one of them.
From Peter Singer, Princeton University's "professor of infanticide."

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