Trust: experimenting with the invisible ingredient for thriving cities

by Charles Montgomery on

Back in the fall of 2011, when my collaborators and I began planning an evening of hot chocolate, intimate confessions, and extreme hugging at the BMW Guggenheim Lab in New York City, some people seemed baffled. What did any of this have to do with the Lab’s mandate, which was to explore the future of cities?

The answer is that we were exploring one of the most important questions concerning urban life, one that is becoming increasingly urgent as we enter a century of environmental and social challenges: what makes people trust each other?

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Trust matters to cities because it matters to life itself. Even though the modern, cosmopolitan city makes it easier than ever for us to retreat from each other, decades of research into human well-being have concluded that the most potent driver of happiness—more powerful than money or status—is the quality of our relationships with other people. Connected people sleep better at night. They are more able to tackle adversity. They live longer. They consistently report being happier…Read more at the Lab/Log