happy city | December 09, 2012

Charles Montgomery: Cities as Engines of Happiness

Recently Lavin staffers had the opportunity to have a chat with our new urban experimentalist speaker Charles Montgomery. His forthcoming book, Happy City, gathers unconventional wisdom from a medley of global cities which have decided to make their citizens' happiness a priority. With examples as diverse as Bogota, Columbia and Vancouver, Canada, Montgomery explains that the concept of a "Happy City" isn't a place, but a method. By choosing to view the city as a creative space full of potential, and identifying the features that have a positive impact on individual and group psychology, we can actually design happiness.

One surprising side-effect of the Happy City method is that the features that make for a happier place are also better for our ecological footprint. By combining behavioral economics with psychology and urban design, Montgomery shows how the features that make cities become engines of happiness are also the most sustainable, environmentally responsible, and economically viable ways of organizing urban spaces. In fact, each of these elements support one another, while making life better downtown. With rich examples and compelling ideas, Charles Montgomery will walk you through one happy city after another, highlighting the ways that beauty, human connections, and environmental awareness can be balanced in the new laboratory for happiness: the city.

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international relations | December 06, 2012