Are some streets kinder than others? A social test in Seattle

by Charles Montgomery on

How does the built environment influence how feel and behave? Our collaborators at Futurewise agreed that this is an important question for cities like Seattle, which has experienced rapid redevelopment of its core neighbourhoods in the last few years. The city has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build happiness into–or out of–these places. Historical studies have suggested that the design and programming of street edges can either draw people or repel them.… Continue reading

Happy City workshop with the World Health Organization

by Charles Montgomery on

After the release of Happy City in 2013, we received dozens of requests from policymakers and city-builders to translate lessons from the book into tools to help guide urban design. In response, we developed a new framework to bring well-being into design processes. We were excited to roll out this framework at the WHO International Healthy Cities conference in Athens, Greece in October, 2014. Dozens of urban health wonks from around the world joined… Continue reading

Testing social trust in Mexico

by Charles Montgomery on

By Charles Montgomery What happens when you challenge hundreds of young Mexicans to reach out to strangers? Something amazing: they change their view of a society that is chronically low in trust.                     I was invited to give a talk to several hundred youth at the International Youth Conference in Queretaro, Mexico, in January. With a captive audience of 500, this… Continue reading

A Night of Social Experimentation At the Guggenheim

by Seth Geiser on

By Seth Geiser There were no book readings at the NYC launch of Happy City. Instead, we transformed the Participatory City gallery at the Guggenheim Museum into a laboratory of interactive experiments in social trust and happiness. Our goal: to explore, in a visceral way, the relationship between the design of our cities and the shape of human experience. “We are not as free as we might think in cities,” Charles explained.… Continue reading

Vancouver plans for social connections

by Charles Montgomery on

Cities are realizing that social connections are a key driver of well-being. The City of Vancouver has tried to turn this truth into action. Last year the city formed an Engaged City Task Force. We were pleased to see that the team took inspiration from Happy City. Read the report here. The team recognized that it’s not enough to get neighbours talking to each other. Government needs to join the conversation. We need new… Continue reading

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