Farrar, Straus and Giroux
November 12, 2013
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 some ways, sidewalks, and tower dwelling and improvement on car-dependence?
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 Bogota; the architect who brought the lessons of medieval Tuscan hill towns to modern-day New York City; a climate activist who is shrinking the footprint of Canadian cities while boosting their happiness; and an army of suburbanites who have transformed their lives by hacking the design of their streets.
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.
Charles Montgomery is a Vancouver-based journalist and urban experimentalist. His writings on cities, psychology, culture, and history have appeared in magazines and journals around the world. His first book, The Last Heathen, won the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction he was an original team member of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, and continues to produce city programs with the Museum of Vancouver. Find him at www.charlesmontgomery.ca and www.thehappycity.com.