WELL, thanks a lot Rightmove. For the last year or so I’ve had this vague plan … not even a plan, more a notion … that I could maybe move back to Stirling. A fresh start in a familiar place. It’s been nearly 30 years since I lived there and maybe it is the time to go back.

But now that it’s been declared the happiest place in Scotland, I fear that I’ll be beaten to it by people desperate to get a taste. Is this survey going to put thousands onto the asking price for Stirling houses? That’s what I want to know.

Stepping back, I can understand the findings. I had my happiest times in Stirling (don’t tell my daughters, they may be put out). It’s where I went to university, met some of my best friends and my late wife. It’s where we got our first home together. It was, in short, where I was young, and that always helps.

But setting aside personal history (and the promotional spend of property websites), what makes a place happy? The Rightmove survey asks respondents about things like community spirit, green spaces, how good the schools are, and to weighs up it restaurants, shops and sports facilities.

You can see why Stirling might score highly on these most of these things (though I reckon it could do better on the restaurant front myself).

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It’s well situated, has good schools and facilities. It has also, no question, areas of deprivation. Underperforming schools too. Still, it is relatively affluent by Scottish standards. That it’s a tourist town and a university town is useful in bringing visitors in. All of it helps to score well in such surveys.

I also wonder if ambition is a factor, too?

If citizens of a town (I know Stirling is meant to be a city but go with me) feel they live somewhere that is seeking to improve itself rather than stick to business as usual, does that help imbue a feeling of civic pride and, yes, happiness?

Let’s run with that idea. Outwith Edinburgh and Glasgow, where are the places in Scotland that you could call ambitious? Dundee is an obvious answer. Perth, too. The impressive redevelopment of the Carnegie Library in 2017 suggests Dunfermline might qualify.

And Stirling is beginning to show a similar appetite. The decision to bid for UK City of Culture status in 2025 is the ultimate statement to this end. Even if it doesn’t win, the bid itself can have a galvanising effect, as Paisley found in 2017.

When it comes to culture there are many who dispute the idea of the “Bilbao effect”, the idea that cultural investment, in Bilbao’s case the Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry, can lead to economic uplift.

Starchitecture is rarely enough on its own. It only works when there is a civic commitment to rethink and transform the wider urban environment, something evident in Dundee at the moment.

Such developments do not solve a city’s problems. They can’t fix deprivation. But they increase opportunities, make places rethink what they are, what they can be.

That sense of living somewhere that feels progressive, that seems to be making strides forward is surely a factor in civic happiness.

Stirling Albion winning promotion might help too, right enough.