Green, Grey and the Good City: learning from Berlin

by Charles Montgomery on

On a blustery, rainy July day, more than 40 people showed up to join an urbanist experiment at the BMW Guggenheim Lab in Berlin. I was amazed to see them. For one thing, the weather was miserable. For another, none of them knew exactly what they were about to be subject to. This, I learned, was typical. Berliners are up for it, especially if they suspect they will get a… Continue reading

Evolution, brain science and urban activism: vignettes from the BGLab

by Charles Montgomery on

The lessons from our three months of experimentation and learning at the BGLab in NYC are still percolating. I’ve been too consumed with book revisions and presentations (including the keynote at this year’s ASLA convention–a fairly messy writeup of which is to collect my thoughts. Although our workshops and experiments have not hit Youtube yet, I see a few gems on Youtube. Here are a few: Love Night: We created… Continue reading

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

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

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

Category Archives: Neuroscience