Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013 - BUSINESS & ECONOMICS - 358 pages
3 Reviews

Charles Montgomery's Happy City will revolutionize the way we think about urban life.

After decades of unchecked sprawl, more people than ever are moving back to the city. Dense urban living has been prescribed as a panacea for the environmental and resource crises of our time. But is it better or worse for our happiness? Are subways, sidewalks and condo towers an improvement on the car-dependence of sprawl?

The award-winning journalist Charles Montgomery finds answers to such questions at the intersection between urban design and the emerging science of happiness, during an exhilarating journey through some of the world's most dynamic cities. He meets the visionary mayor who introduced a "sexy" bus to ease status anxiety in Bogot ; the architect who brought the lessons of medieval Tuscan hill towns to modern-day New York City; the activist who turned Paris's urban freeways into beaches; and an army of American suburbanites who have hacked the design of their own streets and neighborhoods.

Rich with new insights from psychology, neuroscience and Montgomery's own urban experiments, Happy City reveals how our cities can shape our thoughts as well as our behavior. The message is as surprising as it is hopeful: by retrofitting cities and our own lives for happiness, we can tackle the urgent challenges of our age. The happy city can save the world--and all of us can help build it. 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Sharon.Flesher - LibraryThing

I wish I could force everyone to read this book. Those of us interested in urbanism have been schooled in the benefits of shaping our cities to a scale suited for humans rather than designing them to ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - snash - LibraryThing

A book briefly exploring what makes us happy and then shows how our cities as presently configured, particularly in the dispersed city, does not foster happiness. Plans and examples of how the city ... Read full review

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About the author (2013)

Charles Montgomery is a journalist and urban experimentalist whose writings on cities, psychology, culture, and history have appeared in magazines and journals around the world. His first book, The Last Heathen, won the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction. Among his numerous awards is a Citation of Merit from the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society for outstanding contribution towards public understanding of climate change science. Montgomery was an original team member of the BMW Guggenheim Lab. At the Museum of Vancouver and elsewhere, he creates experiments that help citizens transform their relationships with each other and their cities. He has advised and lectured planners, students, and urban decision-makers across Canada, the USA and England. Find him at www.charlesmontgomery.ca and www.thehappycity.com

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