Oculus Book Review: “Happy City” by Charles Montgomery

Charles Montgomery’s book, Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013), is essentially a mind mapping of the current issues, policies, and conundrums of the North American urban design landscape. Montgomery deftly balances the likes of Socrates, Aristotle, a variety of sociologists, politicians, psychologists, and a hand full of architects and urban designers to gauge and assess the city via various forms of happiness data. He uses a dizzying array of personal anecdotes, and takes the reader through city after exurb after cul-de-sac to illustrate the dire straits that Americans, in particular, are in. While I admire the stylistic attempt to weave together these many disciplines, the result feels confusing and a bit too polite. Continue reading “Oculus Book Review: “Happy City” by Charles Montgomery”