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Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design Hardcover – Nov 12 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada (Nov. 12 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385669127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385669122
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 3.1 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 558 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction

"Such an instructive book." —Toronto Star "Montgomery is a talented raconteur. . . . In Happy City, the prose swings when he’s plunging us into the moment."
National Post

"Montgomery should be praised for both the breadth of his research as well the virtues of most everything he argues."
The Globe and Mail

"A copy of Charles Montgomery’s Happy City sits on newly elected Toronto mayor John Tory's desk. Here’s hoping he and every major reads it. The book is a builder’s guide to a modern and livable urban environment. . . . [containing] Malcolm Gladwell-worthy data mining."
—John Moore of Moore in the Mornings (via National Post)

“Lively and accessible. . . . In Montgomery’s hands, urban design proves not only exciting, but integral to our future.”
Publishers Weekly

Happy City is not only readable but stimulating. It raises issues most of us have avoided for too long. Do we live in neighbourhoods 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.”
—The New York Times

“A brilliant, entertaining and vital book. 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

“The place we live is key to our happiness. Charles Montgomery helps us understand why and provides a guidebook for living a happier, more fulfilling and meaningful life.” 
—Richard Florida, University of Toronto and NYU professor and author of The Rise of the Creative Class.

“A wonderful book . . . very thought provoking and inspiring.”
Metro Morning

About the Author

Charles Montgomery is a journalist and urban experimentalist whose writings on cities, psychology, culture, and history have appeared in magazines and journals around the world. His first book, The Last Heathen, won the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction. Among his numerous awards is a Citation of Merit from the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society for outstanding contribution towards public understanding of climate change science. Montgomery was an original team member of the BMW Guggenheim Lab. At the Museum of Vancouver and elsewhere, he creates experiments that help citizens transform their relationships with each other and their cities. He has advised and lectured planners, students, and urban decision-makers across Canada, the USA and England. Find him at and

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful insights into urban design.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed Montgomery's Happy City, and the ease at which I found myself flipping through the pages. Great to have personal stories included as well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The beauty of this book is not just in the quality of the content and the depth of the author's understanding, but it is mainly in how such an important message is wrapped in a way that is easily understandable and accessible to non-planners.

The author argues that the happy city, the green city, the economic city, are the same. He gives us guidelines and examples to bring this exciting story of human happiness to life.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a fascinating look at how happy we are in the cities we have created for ourselves. Some books take a philosophical look at how to be happy, and others look at how to design a city. Montgomery takes a step outside both paradigms and realizes that the point of urban design is to help us feel good about ourselves. He has researched the problems of city life back into Greek times, and then forward to the present day. He finds that modern urban design was intended to solve the problems of cities in the late 1800’s. He finds that the old problems no longer exist. Modern cities have new problems, created by the solutions of the past.
All material in the book is supported by evidence from research studies, complemented by personal observation and interviews. Montgomery has travelled and researched widely. He gives us real life examples to support his findings. This grounds the book in reality, and makes it easy to relate the material to my own experience.

Montgomery presents chapter after chapter of information that shows how city design can make us miserable or happy. I have a basic interest in urban design, and believed that urban planners knew what they were doing. I thought that my vague feelings of dissatisfaction, and the more vocal unhappiness of people I know who have moved to other places hoping that location would make them happier, were personal issues. I now see things differently, and have come to understand the major impact of urban design on our happiness.

Montgomery is careful to point out that there is no panacea. His point is that there is sound evidence to support design changes.
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