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Q&A with Charles Montgomery, author of Happy City, on urban design and happiness

Charles Montgomery, author of Happy Cities, standing in road
courtesy of Charles Montgomery

Charles Montgomery's book Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design looks at the intersection of urban planning and happiness. Keystone Crossroad's Kate Lao Shaffner spoke with the Vancouver author about long commutes, Walmart, and the importance of social interactions.

Your book Happy City essentially combines the study of happiness and urban design. What got you interested in writing this book?

You know, I took a bike ride through the Colombian capital of Bogota—which was one of the unhappiest cities in the world—a few years ago with the mayor who had used his term, in his words, to transform the city in the name of happiness. He used his very short three-year term to change infrastructure in the city, to give all the best and fastest roads—take them from cars and give them to a bus rapid transit system. He built bike lanes. He built schools. He built parks. And all of this, he insisted, would make his city happier.

Read the full version of this report at the website of Keystone Crossroads, a new statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a participating station.

Kate Lao Shaffner was the Keystone Crossroads Reporter for WPSU-FM from 2014-2015. She reports on infrastructure, economic, legal, and financial issues in Pennsylvania with reporters from WHYY (Philadelphia), WITF (Harrisburg), and WESA (Pittsburgh).
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