2014 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction Finalist
Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design
Witty, erudite, and intrepid, Happy City combines superb reportage with bold thinking to explore how one of our century’s defining creations, the megacity, need not be alarming or alienating. Refitting cities for sustainability, and for a new, necessary kind of ‘happiness,’ may sound utopian, but Charles Montgomery builds a vision and argument out of real people, real situations, real solutions. A philosophy of city that is also a philosophy of being—the deepest kind of urban design.
About the Book
After decades of unchecked sprawl, more people than ever are moving back to the city. By 2030 almost five billion of us will be urban. But is it better or worse for our happiness? Charles Montgomery finds answers to such questions during an exhilarating journey through some of the world’s most dynamic cities. He meets a visionary mayor in Bogotá; an architect who brought the lessons of medieval Tuscan hill towns to New York City; and an activist who turned Paris’ urban freeways into beaches. With insights from psychologists and his own urban experiments, Montgomery contends that by retrofitting our cities for happiness we can tackle the urgent challenges of our age.
About the Author
Charles Montgomery is a Vancouver-based journalist and urban experimentalist. His writings on cities, psychology, culture, and history have appeared in magazines and journals around the world. He has been nominated for three Writers’ Trust prizes in the past, and won the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction for his first book, The Last Heathen: Encounters with Ghosts and Ancestors in Melanesia. At the Museum of Vancouver and elsewhere, Montgomery and his collaborators create participatory programs that help citizens treat their cities as hands-on laboratories. He divides his time between East Vancouver and Mexico City.