Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

Charles Montgomery / Oct 15, 2019

Happy City Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design Charles Montgomery s Happy City will revolutionize the way we think about urban life After decades of unchecked sprawl people than ever are moving back to the city Dense urban living has been prescri

  • Title: Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design
  • Author: Charles Montgomery
  • ISBN: 9780385669122
  • Page: 137
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Charles Montgomery s Happy City will revolutionize the way we think about urban life.After decades of unchecked sprawl, people than ever are moving back to the city Dense urban living has been prescribed as a panacea for the environmental and resource crises of our time But is it better or worse for our happiness Are subways, sidewalks and condo towers an improvemeCharles Montgomery s Happy City will revolutionize the way we think about urban life.After decades of unchecked sprawl, people than ever are moving back to the city Dense urban living has been prescribed as a panacea for the environmental and resource crises of our time But is it better or worse for our happiness Are subways, sidewalks and condo towers an improvement on the car dependence of sprawl The award winning journalist Charles Montgomery finds answers to such questions at the intersection between urban design and the emerging science of happiness, during an exhilarating journey through some of the world s most dynamic cities He meets the visionary mayor who introduced a sexy bus to ease status anxiety in Bogot the architect who brought the lessons of medieval Tuscan hill towns to modern day New York City the activist who turned Paris s urban freeways into beaches and an army of American suburbanites who have hacked the design of their own streets and neighborhoods.Rich with new insights from psychology, neuroscience and Montgomery s own urban experiments, Happy City reveals how our cities can shape our thoughts as well as our behavior The message is as surprising as it is hopeful by retrofitting cities and our own lives for happiness, we can tackle the urgent challenges of our age The happy city can save the world and all of us can help build it.

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      Published :2018-011-20T02:18:44+00:00

    About "Charles Montgomery"

      • Charles Montgomery

        Charles Montgomery Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design book, this is one of the most wanted Charles Montgomery author readers around the world.


    1. When I carry a book's ideas around in my head and, day after day, look at my surroundings through the eyes of those ideas, that's when I have to think that a book has had an impact on me. Such is the case with this book. I didn't zip through it, enthralled, but I engaged it every day--mostly in nibbles during my lunch hour--and it would form the touchstone of my thoughts on my commuting drive home.Ah, the commuting drive. Ah, the home: the suburban home, the man's-home-is-his-castle cul de sac h [...]

    2. This book delighted me and made me angry at the same time. Delighted at every happy city described - particularly Copenhagen, now I just must visit Denmark and stare at all the Bjarke Ingels buildings forever (or I could just go to New York, I guess, but I did that already!). And of course, angry at the freaking cars that our countries seem to be built around. You guys, I just hate cars so much. I hate driving them, I hate paying for them through my taxes, I hate having to be wary when I cross t [...]

    3. Have you seen the terrific scathing TED talk of professional urban design gadfly James Howard Kunstler “The Ghastly Tragedy of The Suburbs,” in which he outlines all that is wrong with malls, suburban housing developments, and modern life, generally? I loved it because I frequently weep in the aisle of my minimall’s big box store buying back-to-school supplies and wonder why can’t we all live in the so-called “blue zones” (the places in the world where people live longest and are the [...]

    4. " ‏الكتاب يتحدث عن العلاقة بين التصميم العمراني والسعادة, كيف تؤثر المدن على ساكنيها من جميع النواحي والعلاقة بين الثراء المادي والمعنوي. ‏ستجد في الكتاب مدح متكرر لهذا الرجل "بينالوسا" وهو أمين لمدينة في كولومبيا فاز بسبب شعاره الشهير: "لن اجعلكم أغنياء, ولكن سأجعلكم سعداء [...]

    5. Good intro to urban design.Basically, Montgomery's thesis is that cars are evil."Americans were actually spending more hours commuting than they got in vacation time.""[E]xchaning a long commute for a short walk to work has the same effect on happiness as finding a new love.""[P]eople who endure long drives tend to experience higher blood pressure and more headaches than those with shorter commutes. They get frustrated more easily and tend to be grumpier when they get to their destination.""Peop [...]

    6. Happy City has the potential to be one of the most transformative books you can read regarding improving your health, happiness and connection to your community. Charles Montgomery makes a strong case that in our quest to have the big house, white-picket fence, two-car garage and 2.5 kids, many people have exchanged square footage for a long commute. This distance separates us from our work, our friends, our neighbors and most importantly our happiness as well as being generally unsustainable fr [...]

    7. Very definitely a thought provoking work of journalism. One might think that the topic of urban design would be utterly dry- but not in Montgomery's treatment. He presents the subject through individual case studies, humanizing and dramatizing a hidden reality that rules our lives. The idealized twentieth century concepts of suburban sprawl and segregated zoning have poisoned American culture to a remarkable degree- and yet much of the information here is virtually unknown to Americans. Bottom l [...]

    8. Over the two-week period during which I read this book, I drove my partner crazy talking about it. It's on a subject with which I'm already obsessed: urban sprawl and urban design. I grew up in a New England village (founded in the 1630s) embedded in a larger suburb. Ergo most of my life from birth to age 18 was entirely walkable or bike-able. I did not realize how spoiled I was to walk to all my schools (K-12), to my choice of two ice cream parlors, to a bank, a library, a post office, many dif [...]

    9. It’s been almost a decade since journalist and author Charles Montgomery published his debut book, the Charles Taylor Prize winning The Last Heathen. Fortunately for us he has spent much of that time researching and experiencing urban life at its best and worst, and in focussed, insightful, and engaging prose he tells us how urban design enhances or detracts from our daily lives. Happy City is not about the environment, healthy living, or meeting our neighbors, though these subjects are covere [...]

    10. Finally, after a string of blah reads, I score something truly amazing. I have always loved books about sustainable living, minimalism, and this book combines both of my loves. Montgomery tells us that happiness is not an accidental thing - sometimes it can be caused by design. Urban living has torn apart village living, tossing people into isolated McMansions, taking away their freedom of mobility without dependence on fossil fuels and thus causing a ripple effect of unhappiness throughout soci [...]

    11. Surprisingly, I found this all rather inspiring and constructive. It makes a strong, well supported and well case-studied case for addressing, well, things that most of us will feel are obvious about what's wrong with (many) cities and the kind of human scale 'software' and 'hardware' measures that can make life, frankly, happier. To its credit, it wears its green politics lightly enough to not feel like a sermon (I live a greener life than most of my peers - I don't drive; I live in a tiny home [...]

    12. Really disappointed by this book. It's just the standard urbanist gospel that we've all likely read before--nothing new here. The author thinks city life will solve all our problems with unhappiness, loneliness, obesity, or lack of spiritual fulfillment.He gives very short shrift to all the legitimate reasons people might choose "sprawl" over cities (remember, 8/10 Americans still prefer single-family homes). Fear of crime and desire for privacy and space get passing mentions, but the author see [...]

    13. I wouldn't have guessed that urban planning would prove such a fascinating topic to me, but last year I gave high marks to Jeff Speck's Walkable City and I am now doing the same for Charles Montgomery's Happy City. The author addresses the environmental and fiscal reasons for making biking and walking safer, mass transit available and convenient,having more green spaces and mixed use developments, and how improving those areas even makes it better for those who still choose (or need)to drive. He [...]

    14. This is by far the best written book I've yet read in the areas of urban planning, psychology, and cities. I was very pleasantly surprised by the scale of this book as well as the consistent level of detail, the quality of arguments, figures, and anecdotes, and the author's writing skill. It's wide ranging, yet extremely well connected, and Montgomery does an excellent job at introducing, explaining, and making arguments in support of all the concepts covered in this voluminous book. I especiall [...]

    15. If you care about your city and your lifestyle, read this book. Montgomery plays part psychologist, part sociologist, and part architect as he walks the reader through the philosophy, history, and planning behind building great and not-so-great cities. He offers real solutions, my favorite when discussing civic engagement:"We asked everyone in the neighborhood to come to our planning meetings, but we realized that the alcoholics, the guys who just sit around all day and drink in the park, never [...]

    16. Remarkably well written and logically organized, Happy City proposes urban planning that is flexible, and able to respond to climate change, population growth, migration, economic downturns and social & cultural shifts. Also, big points from me for not ignoring the roles that classism and racism have played and continue to play in how cities and towns are developed, and for balancing vision with approaches for dealing with the realities of regulations and big capitalism.

    17. A must-read for anyone interested in modern urban problems, especially sprawl and exurbanisation. An awesome, simple book that relates to transport, human psychology and architecture in order to try to convince the reader, that the deep-rooted malaise of our cities can and must be cured. If only it were written a bit better, it would surely get 5 stars from me!

    18. The ‘environment’ within which we Homo sapiens developed our behavioral mechanisms has left us in a precarious situation. Because this process of development was not a conscious one – but a slow Evolutionary one – we ignored, or at least were largely ignorant to, those environmental factors that kept us from feeling isolated, fearful, distrusting, and timid. We’ve always felt less suggestible than we are, so we left city-building in the hands of special interests and bureaucrats. Furth [...]

    19. Interesting and inspiring read. I think the thoughts behind cities and the way they're designed is pretty interesting. As you'll hear in the book, many of our cities have been shaped by roads and highways which only came about with the mass production of the automobile. We all live in some type of environment, and it's interesting to think about what shaped yours and what might be the best way to shape the future. We as citizens of our respective cities vote on who represents our interests in ou [...]

    20. I found this book through Mr. Money Mustache and agree that they are a good match. From deep-thoughts on what makes people truly happy and how to build them into your life, the author shares an appreciation for walk-able cities, bicycling infrastructure, and a general disdain for consumerist/commuter-hell that many modern cities and 'burbs have become. Incidentally, this is also the third book that I've read in the past year that mentioned Seaside, the idyllic little town in Florida's panhandle [...]

    21. Great book that really provides a good overarching introduction into urban planning. If you're already familiar with the concepts of New Urbanism, a lot of the book will discuss concepts you're already familiar with but there are still nuggets of wisdom and relevation to be found. Montgomery uses a lot of case studies to help illustrate his points and they do a lot to helping visualize and see the concepts he's proposing and how they would work in real life.

    22. Sometimes it's fun to read a book where you already agree with everything, and such is with me and Happy City. I love all things dense, connected urbanism, so this was great to add more arrows to my quiver when explaining my point of view.

    23. I found this to be an inspiring book. I was only hoping for some interesting discussion around urban design and how to improve mobility, but I've come away with much more than that. We are the city and, as its inhabitants, have the right to change it. :-)

    24. This book has dramatically shifted my perspective on what works and does not in our modern cities. From the shameful history of carmakers destroying public transit in the 50s and 60s, to reimagining the suburban landscape to give residents better access to neighbors, services, entertainment, and a walkable lifestyle, this books has me pumped to support the urban renaissance in my own backyard.

    25. Pop-creativity books, like Jonah Lehrer’s “Imagine,” often write about “network effects” in cities: the kinds of things that happen when you not only put people closer together, but when they’re able to experience a sense of community. Most of these stories, however, leave out key requirements: do people actually walk and bicycle, allowing them to interact with their local environment, instead of driving a car from their garage to the big-box store and back? Do people feel valued as [...]

    26. Torn between 3 and 4 stars. The author presents a lot of great research and case studies on urban development. He provides examples from a variety of cities, starting with Bogota and expanding to cities in the US, Canada, and Europe. The book is a bit repetitive and could be condensed.

    27. I wish I could force everyone to read this book. Those of us interested in urbanism have been schooled in the benefits of shaping our cities to a scale suited for humans rather than designing them to facilitate motorized traffic. Human-scaled cities, in which the tyranny of cars is minimized so that residents feel comfortable navigating public space, can reduce pollution, improve health, and save money. In Happy City, Canadian writer Charles Montgomery focuses on another benefit that is often ov [...]

    28. Good. The city is a shared community project, with a shared past, present, future and fate. Here, the author describes the modern city, where we share bikes, cabs, cars, buses and trains while pedestrians share the sidewalks. Share the road, share the mode, I say. The author likes the self-propelled community, describing it as fun and easy.But, since the 1920s, the city streets became increasingly dominated by private autos, mostly SOVs (single-occupant vehicles). In recent years, cities began t [...]

    29. A thorough and inspiring look at how urban design can shape our lives. The author works to outline how regulation and incentives have shaped our auto-focused cities, and how dramatically North American cities in particular have shifted from the agoras and villages of the past into urban sprawl.Well-researched and consistently backed with studies in addition to anecdotes, the numbers support what many are unconsciously choosing - a return to controlled density.

    30. The Happy City is a breezy run through of urban ideas that challenge the dispersed city and promotes urban design to enable community, relationships and well, happiness. If you are familiar with the ideas of Jane Jacobs, Jan Gehl, William H. Whyte, the New Urbanists, and the work of the Penalosa’s in Columbia, there is little new here with possibly the exception of a more defined trajectory leading to improved ‘happiness’.For a book that could be viewed more about urban form and culture, I [...]

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