Charles Montgomery, Happy City’s founder and principal, is an award-winning author, urbanist and leader of transformative experiments, research and conversations about wellbeing in cities. His acclaimed book, Happy City, Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, examines the intersection between urban design and the emerging science of happiness. Collaborating with the Guggenheim Museum, Futurewise, Laboratorio para la Ciudad and other entities, Montgomery has created experiments and design methods that help participants alter their relationships with their cities, and with each other. Among his numerous awards is a Citation of Merit from the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society for outstanding contribution towards the public’s understanding of climate change science.
Director of operations and sustainability
Omar Dominguez, Happy City’s director of operations and sustainability, leads business planning processes and daily operations of Happy City’s consulting practice. Omar enables the development and delivery of cutting edge, value-creating sustainability strategies across Happy City’s portfolio of activities.
Omar is also a sustainable investment issues professional. He has engaged corporate executives, standard-setting bodies, and regulators to find solutions to mitigate risks to investors, society and the environment. He holds a degree on International Business from the Technological Institute of Monterrey and an MA in Community Development and Social Planning from the University of British Columbia.
European operations lead
Marten leads Happy City’s European operations – giving presentations, facilitating workshops, creating experiments, performing site audits, and designing spaces, services and engagement processes. Recent clients include British Land and the World Health Organization.
Marten brings fifteen years of design-industry experience, and holds a Degree in Graphic Design from the UK and a Masters in Design from Canada. He is also the founder of the trans-disciplinary design studio Beyond; a former president of the Vancouver Design Nerds; and a member of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force. Marten teaches design, civic engagement and facilitation at Emily Carr University, Simon Fraser University in Canada and the Arts University Bournemouth in the UK. In Vancouver, he’s known for creating temporary urban interventions and permanent installations such as a giant wooden nest for social interactions, hosting walking tours, and many other installations that foster sociability and creativity in public environments.
Research and Middle East operations lead
Houssam is a charismatic advocate for the use of urban planning as a tool to improve people’s lives. At Happy City and elsewhere, he leads collaborative urban experiments and urban systems innovation research. Houssam co-founded Transport For Cairo, where they pioneered crowd-sourced tools for mapping Cairo’s massive transportation network. Through his advocacy work with It’s More Than Buses, Houssam has led a coalition of businesses, universities, and community organizations to propose comprehensive transit reforms in Halifax. Houssam received his Masters Degree in City Planning and Regeneration from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. There, his prize-winning work won recognition from the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Scottish Head of Placemaking and Housing.
Manager of Operations
Jackie’s interdisciplinary background, project management and community leadership experience lends itself to creative problem solving, clarity and resourcefulness to project teams, which have included Lighthouse Sustainable Building Centre, Advicas Group Consultants, HUB Cycling, and Dockside Green.
Jackie has a breadth of experience in actively engaging a broad spectrum of stakeholders from community leaders to design professionals to deliver healthy and happy civic design, green building and carbon neutral technology projects in Canada and internationally. She has been a sustainability consultant on numerous new construction developments, was co-founder of Emerging Green Builders Victoria and the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society. Jackie has shared her expertise and her extensive network resources as an instructor of sustainability at Pacific Design Academy and Simon Fraser University and as a board member for City Green Solutions and The HiVE Vancouver.
Paty is a project lead in Happy City, and focuses on promoting sociability and social well-being in the built environment. She has an interdisciplinary background in architecture, urban design, ethnography and participatory design. She collaborated with world-renowned architecture studio Teodoro González de Leon, Gensler & Peschard, co-founded In.Situ and the non-profit organization Identidad y Ciudad in Mexico. Paty promotes a human-centered design approach that engages a great spectrum of stakeholders to analyze and work with the nuances of social complexities.
During her PhD she developed a participatory and interdisciplinary methodology to design urban parks hat promote social cohesion. Her international experience has helped her understand the different perspectives as well as cultural values that link urban design with human patterns. She is a sessional lecturer UBC and has experience teaching urban theory, project and urban methodologies. Paty is also a postdoctoral fellow at Liu Institute and explores the relation between the policy design process and participatory design in the planning of the city.
Mitchell Reardon approaches urban issues from a diversity of perspectives. He is an urbanist and principal at Metropolitan Collective whose interdisciplinary approach centres on people and how they live, work and move through the city. He employs a keen emphasis on social issues, wellbeing, public engagement, planning and design from the neighbourhood to the regional scale. Mitchell is also the deputy coordinator of TH!NK, IBI Group’s innovation team, and the TH!NK by IBI blog curator. He is a Canadian/Austrian who recently moved back to Vancouver, after 6 years in Stockholm, Sweden.
Andy Likuski is an urban planner and software developer who uses technology to improve planning. He integrates emerging web technologies to advocate, visualize, and plan improvements to public space, transit, and cycling. Andy’s strives to make cities happier and more socially connected. He believes that proven urban forms like public plazas and tram lines make for far better places than an over-reliance on isolating technologies like autonomous cars. Andy previously led software development of UrbanFootprint at Calthorpe Associates and Calthorpe Analytics, creating the first open-source web-based land-use-planning software that allows regional governments and cities to plan sustainable futures. He currently lives in Oakland, California and helps firms, organizations, and municipalities understand and use planning software technology.
Neal LaMontagne is an experienced city planner working to build more innovative, sustainable, equitable, participatory, and happy cities through policy, design, and implementation related projects. He works at varied scales, from the neighbourhood to the city to the region, emphasizing collaborative and cross-disciplinary methods to deliver high-quality and complex urban spaces and communities. He is a member of the City of Vancouver’s Planning Commission and Urban Design Panel and an adjunct professor and lecturer at UBC, Langara College, and the SFU City Program. He is currently completing a PhD in Urban Planning at UCLA on adaptive regulation and design governance.
Modus is a Vancouver-based consulting firm specializing in planning, urban design and public engagement. With 75 years of experience among its five Principals, Modus tackles tough problems to help communities and developers navigate the transition to sustainability. Our approach is rooted in process excellence, creative urban design, and a razor sharp focus on implementation. We work closely with clients and communities in order to draw out our collective insight and create a lasting legacy of healthy, sustainable projects and communities.
Christine McLaren helps cities and organizations around the world integrate key concepts of happiness and wellbeing into urban design and policy.
Christine has worked as a journalist and researcher for over a dozen media outlets on three continents including Monocle, GOOD, Metropolis, Next City, The Globe and Mail, Xinhua News Agency and MSN. Her work focuses on the role transportation, planning, design and affordability play in the sustainability, livability and resilience of cities.
Christine also spent two years travelling to cities around the world as resident writer of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile urban think tank project of the Solomon Guggenheim Museum. She co-authored the project’s interactive online glossary and book series, Participatory City: 100 Urban Trends (2013, Specter Press).
Ali Grant works in the intersecting spaces of healthy people, healthy places, and a healthy planet. She helps city builders – residents, planners, policymakers, and everyone else in-between – engage with the complex interplay of social, ecological, and economic sustainability challenges.
In her work with organizations such as BC Healthy Communities and Safer Futures, she’s been a coach, champion, and navigator for healthy cities for all, working to bridge the gap between disruptive innovators and the receptive innovators inside municipal systems. As a practical visionary, she knows how to preserve the integrity of big ideas and innovative solutions from conception to implementation, and most recently led the development of the City of Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy (2014-2025).
Hazel is the Managing Principal of PlaceMakers, where she works to guide governments through zoning reforms — allowing walkable, mixed-use, compact, resilient places to develop by-right — and helps developers to get things built under form-based codes and character-based land use laws of the new economy. Hazel is also the organizer of the Placemaking@Work webinar series, a board member of the Transect Codes Council, co-author of the Codes Study, and a blogger on PlaceShakers.