The happy city

February 8, 2008 at 10:26 pm 1 comment

(Jon) How about some urban policies that are focused not only on economics, but on happiness?

An article in enRoute magazine opens with a Paris street that’s been buried in sand and turned into a city beach. And that’s not all:

All through the city, pavement has been wrested away from private cars and converted into sandboxes, plazas, dance floors and bike paths. Paris has joined a global movement that seeks to change not just streets but the very soul of urban spaces. Its adherents believe that cities can become engines not just of economic growth. But of happiness.

Paris is only one example:

The charge is being led by some of the world’s toughest towns, places like Bogotá, where happiness theory led one mayor to transform roads into parks and pedestrian “freeways,” and Mexico City, whose mayor is investing in urban beaches and bikeways in order to change the citizens’ gloomy outlook. Now the movement is spilling over to wealthier cities too. Seoul has ripped out a downtown freeway to make room for parks and streams. London has put the squeeze on cars with its now famous congestion charge.

Sadly, there are no photos with the article, but you can read it all here.


Entry filed under: city culture, Jon Swerens, Neighborhoods, Uncategorized, Urbanism. Tags: .

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1 Comment

  • 1. Mike Harvey  |  February 9, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Nice find. I wish moving quality sand was cheap.


But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7

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