Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

“The happy city, the green city and the low-carbon city are the same place, and we can all help build it.”

More than 80% of the population in England (and more than 50% globally) now live in urban environments. In terms of the human story, this shift to urban living has occurred in a blink of an eye, placing large numbers of people into what is, in evolutionary terms, a very new and still largely alien setting, with consequences that are well documented in relation to emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Happy City has been written by Charles Montgomery. The publishers say:

“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?

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’ 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 neighbourhoods.

Rich with history and new insights from psychology, neuroscience 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 …”

You can find out more from here.

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