The altruism dividend: a lesson from my brother

by Charles Montgomery on

What’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my research looking at cities and happiness? It’s that the our relationships with other people matter more than money, status or beauty. In fact, my friend Elizabeth Dunn showed in her work that money has the most power to buy happiness when you give it away. Funny thing is, while I have been poking through academic archives and psychology labs, my brother has… Continue reading

A radical collaboration: the BMW Guggenheim Lab

by Charles Montgomery on

Earlier this spring, curators at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum put five strangers from different countries and different disciplines in a room in New York, and asked us to think about what it means to be comfortable in cities. I’ll share more about this collaboration between a dizzying collection of architects, thinkers, curators, builders and innovators in the coming months, but here are the basics on the BMW Guggenheim Lab.… Continue reading

How IKEA uses architecture to trick you into buying stuff

by Charles Montgomery on

If you are like me, you dread trips to IKEA. And if you are like me, you make them anyway. And if you are like me, you do not find the table you came looking for, but you nevertheless leave with a bag full of crap you never knew you needed in the first place. Fridge magnets. Shoe organizers. Stackable boxes. All destined for your next garage sale. Well, don’t… Continue reading

The branded landscape: gorgeous!

by Charles Montgomery on

First, brands colonized the urban landscape. Now they have become the colours, the mountains, the trees that define our experience. The French animation collective, H5, captures the kaleidoscopic wonder of this branded future in their animation, Logorama. from The strange part of this story is just how right the hyper-branded world feels. It feels…like home. Continue reading

The rise and fall of great cities

by Charles Montgomery on

Bogota, Colombia, is one of those cities that is either making headlines for murder, kidnapping and chaos, or wildly optimistic and inventive urbanism. A decade ago, Bogota was on a high. The iconoclastic mayor, Antanas Mockus, was still sending clowns into the streets to tease citizens towards good behaviour. His predecessor, Enrique Peñalosa, had just finished a massive transformation of city streets in the name of equity and happiness. The… Continue reading