Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Nov 12, 2013 - Political Science - 368 pages
3 Reviews

A globe-trotting, eye-opening exploration of how cities can—and do—make us happier people

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 tower dwelling 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, and during an exhilarating journey through some of the world's most dynamic

cities. He meets the visionary mayor who introduced a "sexy" lipstick-red bus to ease status anxiety in Bogotá; 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 transformed their lives by hacking the design of their streets and neighborhoods.

Full of rich historical detail and new insights from psychologists and Montgomery's own urban experiments, Happy City is an essential tool for understanding and improving our own communities. The message is as surprising as it is hopeful: by retrofitting our cities for happiness, we can tackle the urgent challenges of our age. The happy city, the green city, and the low-carbon city are the same place, and we can all help build it.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - larryerick - LibraryThing

This book could easily have been a 5-star work, but it occasionally stumbles or loses focus. The title, for instance. I have a hard time imagining the persons who need to read this book the most ... Read full review

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

Contents

The Mayor of Happy
3
The City Has Always Been a Happiness Project
17
The Broken Social Scene
44
How We Got Here
63
Getting It Wrong
78
How to Be Closer
106
Convivialities
146
How Moving Feels and Why It Does Not Feel Better
176
Who Is the City For?
227
Everything Is Connected to Everything Else
251
Retrofitting Sprawl
271
Save Your City Save Yourself
295
The Beginning
315
Notes
323
Acknowledgments
357
Copyright

Freedom
196

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About the author (2013)

Charles Montgomery is an award-winning journalist and the author of The Shark God, which won the 2005 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction under its Canadian
title, The Last Heathen.

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