Part urban think tank, part community center and public gathering space, the BMW Guggenheim Lab traveled globally to inspire new ways of thinking about urban life. Happy City principal Charles Montgomery collaborated as one of the original lab team members in New York City, and continued his work in Berlin.

He initiated a number of interdisciplinary experiments and dozens of public programs which gave participants a visceral understanding of the social and emotional effects of urban life. These included tests on the psychophysiological effects of public space (with neuroscientist Dr. Colin Ellard) and site interventions which used design to maximize social trust. Charles also convened and moderated multiple forums and workshops examining health and happiness in urban design, involving hundreds of participants.

Christine McLaren, Happy City’s director of research and partnerships, served as the lab’s reporter, producing dozens of stories and investigative reports on urban experiments, challenges and trends from around the world. She co-authored the lab’s final report, 100 Urban Trends.