Happy City

Happy City

eBook - 2013
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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 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 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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Aug 24, 2018

Once you've read this book (and I mean read, not just turned the pages) your view of cities--and the lifestyle they engender--will be forever changed. You can not go back. Your mental furniture has been permanently re-arranged. Favorably.

Aug 29, 2017

This is a book that all city planner in Markham should read. Especially with the recent development of Highway 7 with the VIVA bus lane and bike lanes. The decision to go with the VIVA designated lane is great but the addition of bike lanes there just doesn't make any sense. Overall it is thought inducing and it did help change the way I move around in the neighborhood (eg bike, taking the viva and just walking).

Jul 02, 2015

Mere reporting here, no intelligent analysis.

Mar 30, 2015

Oh how I had hoped Jim Watson had read this instead of watching Netflix as he was convalescing!!!
IMO City Council needs to read it as well!
If I see another condo go up I am going to lose my mind!

Feb 16, 2015

Author talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk. Book a good seller, no doubt.

Feb 15, 2015

I heard about the book on Tapestry. I have been interested in urban design and development since reading Jane Jacobs' "Death and life of great American cities" in the early 1970s

Aug 04, 2014

As a Vancouver-rite its always fun to read about your city in e.g. after e.g. of how things have played out or are playing out.

Those people who managed to slow our rapid freeway/highway expansion that was planned in the 70's/80's, thank you so very much. It may not have even been what you intended but you have impacted both our present and future. I think positively.

So many things in here are counter intuititive, in my opinion. It seems obvious to improve traffic build bigger/better roads. Thankfully books like this one prove that idea not only wrong but suggest reforming our cities thereby impacting ALL segments of society (work, play, education etc...). Good book but many will not want to hear the message, just yet..........

Jun 25, 2014

Very interesting book that challenges a lot of preconceived notions about how cities develop. It can be maddening at times as you will inevitably be reminded of the terrible car-centered decisions your city halls probably makes. One minor annoyance was the fact that the author, Canadian, uses miles and, especially, farenheits, which are about as meaningless as Klingon jargon everywhere else but the US. Still, a great inspiring read detailing a lot of forward city building and city 'repairing'.

Mar 06, 2014

If you are interested in the future of cities, this is the book to pick up. The book is a great primer on the basics of what makes a good city, and it should be mandatory reading for anyone going into architecture, urban planning, politics, etc. - any job that will influence how our cities are built. The author does a great job of tying in research from psychology and neuroscience to show how cities affect people, and how this should serve as a huge incentive to get our cities in better shape. An excellent read for any citizen who needs motivation to get involved in city building.

Feb 28, 2014

reorder-on pg 75

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