Testing social trust in Mexico

by Charles Montgomery on

By Charles Montgomery What happens when you challenge hundreds of young Mexicans to reach out to strangers? Something amazing: they change their view of a society that is chronically low in trust.                     I was invited to give a talk to several hundred youth at the International Youth Conference in Queretaro, Mexico, in January. With a captive audience of 500, this… Continue reading

TIME Magazine Happy City survey launches

by Charles Montgomery on

I worked with Chris Wilson at TIME Magazine and Chris Barrington-Leigh at McGill University to create this survey looking at happiness and urban factors in the USA. If you live in the USA, give it a click. We hope the results will reveal new insights about the relationship between cities and happiness. After a few thousand responses we’ll be reporting back with info graphics. Continue reading

Commuting for happiness

by Charles Montgomery on

A new survey of thousands of British commuters is turning years of accepted wisdom on its head. It turns out that taking transit can actually make us happy.                   Over the years, surveys of commuters have shown that people who cycle or walk report feeling the most joy on their journeys, followed by car drivers. People who take public transit have almost… Continue reading

Building Happiness

by Charles Montgomery on

Whatever creates or increases happiness, or some part of happiness, we ought to do; whatever destroys or hampers happiness, or gives rise to its opposite, we ought not to do.” — Aristotle There should be no question that happiness should be a worthy goal for city-builders. That’s the argument I make in Connected Worlds, a new book published for the International Festival for Business in Liverpool. Here’s the full essay in a… Continue reading

What is urban experimentalism?

by Charles Montgomery on

ex·per·i·men·tal·ism: noun 1/ reliance on or advocacy of experimental or empirical principles and procedures. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) 2/ an orientation that favors experimentation and innovation. Related to instrumentalism, a philosophy advanced by philosopher John Dewey, who held that the truth of a thing or idea lay in its usefulness. I began my search for the essence of the happier city as a journalist, searching for experts among planners, mayors, psychologists and… Continue reading