Experimenting with the emotional city in NYC

by Charles Montgomery on

The city is a behavioral system. It alters how we feel, how we see each other, and how we act. This would be a terrible thought if it were not for a second truth, which is that the city is malleable. We can change it whenever we wish. These are the ideas at the heart of the Happy City project. Between Sept 28 and Oct 16, I will test them… Continue reading

Experiment launches today: join us in NYC

by Charles Montgomery on

After months of effort by a cast of dozens, The BMW Guggenheim Lab has  opened in NYC. Now that we’ve christened the space with a first-class shindig (observed critically here)the lab team will spend the next three months conducting experiments, playing games, exploring unseen systems, fighting and confronting ideas of comfort in the city. (Urban Omnibus features in-depth interviews with the team members, describing what we’re up to.) The lab is the… Continue reading

The altruism dividend: a lesson from my brother

by Charles Montgomery on

What’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my research looking at cities and happiness? It’s that the our relationships with other people matter more than money, status or beauty. In fact, my friend Elizabeth Dunn showed in her work that money has the most power to buy happiness when you give it away. Funny thing is, while I have been poking through academic archives and psychology labs, my brother has… Continue reading

A radical collaboration: the BMW Guggenheim Lab

by Charles Montgomery on

Earlier this spring, curators at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum put five strangers from different countries and different disciplines in a room in New York, and asked us to think about what it means to be comfortable in cities. I’ll share more about this collaboration between a dizzying collection of architects, thinkers, curators, builders and innovators in the coming months, but here are the basics on the BMW Guggenheim Lab.… Continue reading

How IKEA uses architecture to trick you into buying stuff

by Charles Montgomery on

If you are like me, you dread trips to IKEA. And if you are like me, you make them anyway. And if you are like me, you do not find the table you came looking for, but you nevertheless leave with a bag full of crap you never knew you needed in the first place. Fridge magnets. Shoe organizers. Stackable boxes. All destined for your next garage sale. Well, don’t… Continue reading

Author Archives: Charles Montgomery