Happiness and Wellbeing in Cities and Communities (GEOS)

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12:00 pm





What is “happiness” and how can we manifest it? UNA-USA and the Global Goals Ambassadors for Sustainable Cities and Communities are partnering with experts in sustainable infrastructure, architecture, and psychology to celebrate the International Day of Happiness. Join us on March 23rd as we discuss achieving and promoting happiness and well-being in sustainable cities and communities.

Why is this topic important? As of 2020, 56.2% of the global population lives in cities (World Economic Forum). However, living in cities has its share of risk factors- mental and physical illnesses are increasingly prevalent. According to the World Health Organization, cities have higher rates of mental health reports that stem from migration with pre-existing social and environmental risk factors to over-stimulation from the noise and pollution found in urban environments. It is especially important that, during the pandemic, we find meaningful ways to achieve happiness in our cities.

Speakers include:

Marie-Christine Nizzi, Ph.D.: Innovative Leader in Medical Humanities. Scientist, University Instructor, and Psychologist working with Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and UCLA.

Marie-Christine Nizzi, PhD, PhD A visionary leader, Marie-Christine Nizzi holds a rare interdisciplinary expertise in medical humanities, with a Ph.D. in Philosophy (Sorbonne University) and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (Harvard University). She is the Scientific Director of Harvard Alumni Mental Health, where she directs a global research program to develop, disseminate, and evaluate interventions improving the well-being of alumni worldwide. She is a volunteer Clinical Faculty in Psychiatry at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. At Dartmouth, she currently leads an international research project aiming to better support the experience of free will in paralyzed patients. An award-winning scientist-educator, her specialty course ranked best at Harvard and she was named “2018 Harvard Horizons Scholar” for her work with U.S. Veterans and face-transplant recipients.


Robert Fleming: AIA, LEED AP, NOMA

Rob Fleming is an award-winning educator, author, LEED® accredited professional, and architect. He is the Co-creator and Director of the Master of Science in Sustainable Design Program at Thomas Jefferson University. With over 250 graduates, the program is one of the oldest, largest, and most innovative sustainable design programs in the world. In 2020, Rob co-authored his third and fourth books: Sustainable Design Basics and Sustainable Design for the Built Environment. Rob is a Sustainability Fellow at Re:Vision Architecture in Philadelphia where he consults and facilitates integrated design charrettes. In all his work, Rob strives to: Advocate for social equity in the built environment; Regenerate the natural environment, Make beautiful places; and Bring economic viability to sustainability projects.


Zenobia Fields: Transportation expert and Director of Government & Community Relations at NJDOT at New Jersey Department of Transportation

Currently, Zenobia L. Fields serves as the Senior Policy & Program Advisor at New Jersey Department of Transportation. Zenobia plans, organizes and coordinates the Department’s involvement in policy forums – local, state and national. This includes coordinating reviews of state and federal legislation; Capital Investment Strategies; Capital Program line items and national Transportation Officials policy statements to inform upcoming legislative changes, transportation projects and other transportation improvements.

Zenobia has over 20 years of diverse experience including optimizing business processes, capacity-building, asset planning, performance planning, urban design, transportation related design, data sharing, policy analysis and general community development. She has held positions with non-profits, government agencies, and private sector companies—including project work at the local, regional, state and federal level. Zenobia is skilled at balancing detail oriented technical competencies with strategic relationship building for mutually-beneficial joint initiatives.

Prior to joining NJDOT, she spent almost 12 years with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. She started as a principal planner and was entrusted with increasing responsibilities, ultimately serving as the Department Director of Planning for more than six years. In this role, she was responsible for regional planning programs in mobility, transportation, environmental and sustainability initiatives, systems planning, modeling and data, freight planning, as well as inter-agency planning collaboration. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master’s degree in Urban Planning from Virginia Tech.

Kim Flores: Director of Happiness at Johnson and Sekin CEO, Author, Speaker, Expert in social and emotional well-being.

As Chief Officer of Strategy + Happiness, Kim Flores works as a catalyst and a partner to grow purpose-driven businesses and their heart-led DEI cultures for maximum impact on a local, national or global level.

In addition to working in the advertising/branding/marketing world of Johnson and Sekin – a two-time AdAge Best Places to Work winner, Kim has worked in the Dallas film industry for 25 years. She worked as a commercial director and independent filmmaker and won an ALMA award (American Latin Media Arts Award) for her feature film Vocessitas, which she wrote and co-directed. Kim is also a published author. Kim has worked as an intuitive life counselor for 21 years. She is certified in the science of wellbeing under the instruction of cognitive scientist Dr. Laurie Renee Santos at Yale University and became certified as a Chief Happiness Officer with Demark’s Happiness Expert and global thought leader Alexander Kjerulf. Kim practices happiness one moment at a time with her husband, two sons, and two rescued dogs in Dallas, Texas.