Gloria Galloway interviews Charles Montgomery about his book, Happy City:
A couple of villains emerge in the book. Cars, for instance, don’t get a good rap.
I disagree. The book is not anti-car. In cities around the world where change is taking place to favour people over certain monolithic systems like car-oriented planning, there’s always an outcry suggesting that a war against cars has been launched. But, in every one of these cases, the people who are planning cities and creating policies around how we use our common space are simply adding more complexity, more freedom ... The book does not demand that people get out of their cars. What Happy City argues is that all of us should have more choice in how to move around our cities.
But, in your book, the car seems be the shell that is keeping people from interacting with other people.
My concern is that, in planning cities just for cars, we have stretched our lives across the miles. And it’s that time spent in the commute alone that drains us of the opportunity for social interaction. It’s not just important because it’s fun and comforting to hang out with other people – and it is ... But, what so many policy makers forget is that face-to-face social interactions have now been shown to be the prime driver of innovation and even GDP in cities. Geographers and their supercomputers have shown that the factor that corrodes face-to-face interaction more than any other is urban sprawl.
Previous post about walking and happiness here.