"For years, urban designers and architects have claimed happiness as their goal," Montgomery says. "And yet none of the claims have been supported by empirical evidence. Which isn't to say they're not right. It's just to say that we don't know. That we haven't known."
In this spirit of empirical discovery, Montgomery takes readers around the world in search of the places where urban design has (and has not) improved quality-of-life. — The Atlantic Cities
Human behavior can be extremely difficult to quantify, and determining its exact context even harder. But some cities just seem happier than others, no matter how difficult that status is to qualify. In his book, Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, Charles Montgomery tries to create an empirical basis for that causal link between happiness and urban design, through case studies of cities where those two concepts are clearly intertwined. Montgomery spoke with Eric Jaffe at The Atlantic Cities about his research for the book, and how we measure happiness.
Sensitive to the fact that what works in Bogotá might not fly in Oslo, Montgomery is not out to find hard-and-fast rules for happiness. He instead wants to tease out methods of urban design that civic governments may use to become more sensitive, responsive and accountable to their citizens' well-being.