Biophelia and Berlin: can green space make urbanites kinder?

by Charles Montgomery on

Is it possible to design cities in a way that makes people nicer? I began asking this question at the BMW Guggenheim Lab last year, when Colin Ellard and I found that certain places in NYC’s Lower East Side caused our tour participants to feel more or less happy than others. What made people cheeriest? A humble community garden in Sara Roosevelt Park. This reflected a mountain of existing research… 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

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

Category Archives: Science of happiness