Evolution, brain science and urban activism: vignettes from the BGLab

by Charles Montgomery on

The lessons from our three months of experimentation and learning at the BGLab in NYC are still percolating. I’ve been too consumed with book revisions and presentations (including the keynote at this year’s ASLA convention–a fairly messy writeup of which is to collect my thoughts. Although our workshops and experiments have not hit Youtube yet, I see a few gems on Youtube. Here are a few:

Love Night: We created an evening that tested new insights in brain science that suggest that we are hard-wired for altruism and trust—even among strangers. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak, psychologist Emanuele Castano, and Kio Stark helped take us there, along with heat-sensitive garments and furniture from the Fashioinable Technology Lab at Parsons The New School for Design. It was all very huggy:

BGLab and Occupy Wall Street: an unlikely meeting

The brilliant Nicholas Humphrey on urban design as placebo:

And David Sloan Wilson explains how he used evolution to make his town happier:

Juliet Schor explores the hopeful economics of sharing:

And then there’s the bizarre and incomparable Reggie Watts, making fun of all of us:

The person who has come closest to making sense of the BGLab is our blogger Christine McLaren, who has also done extensive research for my book, Happy City. Christine will be hopping a container ship, following the lab to Berlin in the coming months. As usual, her wonderful will find ways to relate every structure and experience to the science of making better cities. Check it out.