ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Four Themes from Charles Montgomery's "Happy City"

Updated on June 19, 2017

Introduction

Charles Montgomery's book "Happy City" details how urban design can become a catalyst for happiness. The book narrates experiences of cities that sought to plan and re-plan for increasing sustainability, walkability, and public morale.

Four important themes from the book are enumerated. Architects, engineers and planners are also invited to leave their comments and suggestions. The objective of the article is to interest more readers and authors into addressing issues of cities through the happiness solution of urban design.

Theme # 1: The Essentials of A Sustainable City

The book provides a description of the expectations towards a sustainable city. Compared to the current "unsustainable" cities, the sustainable city needs to be:

  • healthier
  • higher in status
  • more fun
  • more resilient
  • able to lure people together
  • able to reward people for efficient choices
  • able to ensure that the good choice and the happy choice are the same

No wonder sustainability in cities is hard to achieve: many qualifications need to be met. The good choice and the happy choice, for instance, is seldom the same.

"Public transit innovations tend to take place in cities where policy makers actually ride public transit."

Theme # 2: Dedication to Public Mass Transport and Public Transit

Various examples in the book highlighted the importance of public transit and mass transport to happiness urban design.

  • The TransMilenio of Bogota is a bus rapid transit system that serves both the poor and the rich in the city of Bogota. Its aim was not only "to cut travel times but also to boost the status of public transit riders."
  • "Public transit innovations tend to take place in cities where policy makers actually ride public transit."
  • A feature in the book detailed that bicyclists with helmets are more likely to get hit, based on a study of Brian Walker. His website is brianwalker.com/overtaking/
  • The concept of effective speed: "calculating travel time which includes the hours you spend working to pay for your vehicle, as well as the time spent on the journey."
  • Government provides incentives for sprawl through prioritizing funding for highways instead of urban rail and transit services.
  • Investments towards public transit and commercial development are mutual benefit initiatives, as evidenced by a $100M streetcar investment in Portland.

TransMilenio system map as of April 2017
TransMilenio system map as of April 2017 | Source

Theme # 3: Specialized Geographies

Discussions of place and space will always need the perspective of geography. Two specific geographic studies are included in the book.

  • "the geography of loneliness," which is illustrated in the following examples
  1. Jan Semenza's experience of a man who died in a heat stroke in Chicago in 1995. The man, according to the hotel manager, "was totally alone."
  2. "people who live in residential towers...feel lonely and crowded by other people at the same time."
  3. Even though most would prefer a walkable community, most also want to live in a detached home with plenty of privacy and space.

Buy the book!

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design
Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

Charles Montgomery's Happy City will revolutionize the way we think about urban life.

 

Theme # 4: Defining the City

Cities are at the forefront of global development trajectory; therefore, understanding the concepts about defining "the city" and the changes that occur in it is important.

  • "The city shapes the way we move; our movements shape the city in return."
  • "...a city is really just the sum of what people think about it. The city is a subjective thing." -Ricardo Montezuma
  • "Cities have always expressed a tension between individual property rights and common benefits."
  • Change the zoning code, change the city.

"The city shapes the way we move; our movements shape the city in return."

Conclusion

Books like "Happy City" provide the local urban designers and planners a tour of different city experiences. Through these examples, the knowledge gap in urban design between developing and developed countries is bridged.

What books about urban issues and problems?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)