Readers React to San Luis Obispo's So-Called Happiness Factor

A bicycle corral in downtown San Luis Obispo | Photo by Zach Behrens

Our article about San Luis Obispo's new Madonna Inn bicycle path, and how it is yet another example of why the city was called the "healthiest and happiest city in America" by a book published by National Geographic, drew a lot of reaction, mostly from Facebook where we posed the question: "Do you think San Luis Obispo is truly the happiest city in America?"

Some comments were a resounding no.

"No. Maybe for senior citizens," said LeVar Porter.

Added Patricia Sweany: "I know for a fact that it is not. Unless you are old and have no desire for anything. There is too much of nothing."

"Only if you're into tulips and cow tipping," explained Nat Richards.

Others like Sara Brown, who would like to move there, had a different perspective. "Confused by the only things for old people comments. It is a college town and there is a large vibrant young community," she said.

"Yes, too much of nothing is okay for me especially coming from an over stimulated So. Cal.," said Sidie Quezada. "I like the laid back, walk don't drive, everyone is friendly S.L.O."

What these comments exemplify are a range of lifestyle choices -- nothing unusual there.

But what is interesting, to me at least, is this question: if a large sprawling place like Los Angeles, with all its options of "things to do," adopted the practices of San Luis Obispo -- or at least succeeded at implementing dreamy plans like the newly approved bicycle one -- would Angeleños be healthier, thus happier? Or is it happier, thus healthier?

About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCET's Director of News, Region and State, working on digital and on-air news products that relate to Southern California and beyond.
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