Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

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

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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HAPPY CITY: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

User Review  - Kirkus

Canadian journalist Montgomery (The Shark God: Encounters with Ghosts and Ancestors in the South Pacific, 2006) explores the many ideas and movements seeking to change the structures and souls of our ... Read full review

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When I first met Charles I was unaware that where I am even happiness meaning was different for me. I went through his book and found it one of the best creation ever.
One must read this book to know how a city should be designed.


The Mayor of Happy
The City Has Always Been a Happiness Project
The Broken Social Scene
How We Got Here
Getting It Wrong
How to Be Closer
How Moving Feels and Why It Does Not Feel Better
Who Is the City For?
Everything Is Connected to Everything Else
Retrofitting Sprawl
Save Your City Save Yourself
The Beginning


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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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