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Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design Paperback – October 7, 2014
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“Happy City is not only readable but stimulating. It raises issues most of us have avoided for too long. Do we live in neighborhoods that make us happy? That is not a silly question. Montgomery encourages us to ask it without embarrassment, and to think intelligently about the answer.” ―Alan Ehrenhalt, The New York Times Book Review
“Beautifully researched, Charles Montgomery's tale cleverly interweaves rigorous inquiry on urban history and the science of happiness with intimate and personal stories that humanize the vast task of understanding urban dynamics. An inspiring book that reminds us that the power to change our cities often lies in our own hands.” ―Maria Nicanor, Associate Curator of Architecture and Urbanism, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
“Happy City is its own opiate: an eye-opening, pleasurable, utterly necessary tour through the best and worst neighborhoods of our urbanized world. Charles Montgomery shows us the way to a beautiful city.” ―Andrew Blum, author of Tubes
“Happy City will fundamentally change the way you see, experience, and feel the place you inhabit. It is a hopeful and optimistic vision of our urban future that uses science to argue what we always should have known: in building the good city, we won't just save our planet. We'll save ourselves.” ―Robert Hammond, cofounder of Friends of the High Line
“A brilliant, entertaining, and vital book. Charles Montgomery deftly leads us from our misplaced focus on money, cars, and stuff to consider what makes us truly happy. Then everything changes--the way we live, work, and play in humanity's major habitat, the city.” ―David Suzuki, host of CBC's The Nature of Things and cofounder of the David Suzuki Foundation
“Charles Montgomery's message is simple: If we're going to save the world, we must first be happier, and that means creating happier cities. Happy City isn't just a book about urban design written for urban professionals; it's for everyone who's ever wondered if their city could be a better place, and what they can do about it.” ―Jarrett Walker, author of Human Transit
“In a word, wow. I thought I had it all figured out, but this is something I was missing. In echoing all the great economic, health, and environmental mandates for walkable cities, I had mostly sidestepped the concept of happiness, thinking it too intangible to discuss in a compelling way. Thank goodness Charles Montgomery has had the guts and the skill to correct my error with this fascinating and entertaining book.” ―Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City
“Charles Montgomery writes with rare wit and erudition about the psychology of urban life. A wake-up call for citizens and planners alike, Happy City takes you by the scruff of the neck and shakes you into questioning everything around you. It not only shows us that we must make our cities better, but it tells us how we can.” ―Nicholas Humphrey, author of Soul Dust
“I thought I already lived in a happy city: New York. But Charles Montgomery reveals how much happier all of us--kids and adults--can be if we only reconsider what actually contributes to the good life. Suddenly I'm thinking of all the ways we can make millions of people happier. What a great book!” ―Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids
About the Author
Charles Montgomery is an award-winning journalist and the author of The Shark God, which won the 2005 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction under its Canadian title, The Last Heathen.
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I highly recommend it for any urban studies nerd, and would encourage you to additionally read Walkable City and Street Smarts as companion pieces. Between those three books, they do a great job of giving you the history, the science, the statistics, and the possibilities for the future of smart, happy, walkable cities.
But the rest of the book makes up for it. I was fascinated to read about how proper cities are done, and how such improvements bring life and new experience into citizens' lives.
Living in post-USSR, I see a lot of examples of cities done wrong, not for people but for military parades. So it was like a fresh air to read the thoughts I often had about problems that each one encounters in modern city life, and see these problems solved in communities around the world.
I really hope author does not give up on this topic, and will bring us more insight in how happy cities work and how they are built, hopefully with more examples from real cities all over the world.
Thank you for your hard work and good read, Charles.