People walking and biking on flat dirt trail next to San Francisco Bay with Golden Gate Bridge in background

City Dwellers Happiest in Parks, Angry at Transit Stops

An analysis of geotagged tweets reveals that city dwellers express positive emotions in green spaces and restaurants, while bus stops and transit elicited more frustrated reactions.

February 12, 2023 - Bloomberg CityLab


Study: A McMansion Can't Buy Happiness

As houses grow and households shrink, many Americans have a lot more space to themselves. But recent research says they aren't any happier trying to keep up with Joneses.

June 12, 2019 - The Atlantic

Destruction Derby

The Automobile as Prison. The City as Freedom.

The automobile has been pitched as a machine for freedom, but travelling inside a small metal box, strapped to a chair, forced to focus on the road while your life is threatened by two-ton projectiles doesn’t sound like freedom to David Levinson.

April 15, 2019 - The Trasportist

Seair coastal passenger plane

As Canadian Cities Grow, Survey Finds Happiest Canadians are in Smaller Communities

The happiest people in Canada, according to a survey of life satisfaction, tend to live in significantly less dense communities than the least happy.

June 12, 2018 - Daily Hive

Bike Commute

What Kind Of Commute Makes People Happy?

The conventional planning wisdom seems to be that long drives are less beneficial to well-being than a short walk. But what about other commuting options?

September 7, 2016 - Michael Lewyn

Cherry Blossom Washington, D.C.

Urban Sanity: Understanding Urban Mental Health Impacts and How to Create Saner, Happier Cities

Some experts claim that city living causes mental illness and unhappiness, but a new study indicates that urban environments provide many mental health benefits. Better planning can help make sane and happy cities.

September 6, 2016 - Todd Litman

Brutalist Lines, Wales

A Critique of the Built Environment: How We Built Unhappiness

One writer's view of the modern city goes negative. If our environment affects our happiness, surely we're all suffering from depression.

January 19, 2016 - Adbusters

Smiling couple on a blanket in a park in Denmark

Measuring Well-Being in Santa Monica

The beachfront town known for its surfers and celebrities is collecting data that dig deeper than traditional measures of economic prosperity, and the results may be surprising.

August 3, 2015 - Fast Company Co.Exist

Highlights from CNU 23 Dallas

Having just wrapped up a great CNU in Dallas, April 29 through May 2, a collection of urbanists share some of the ideas that resonated the most.

May 6, 2015 - PlaceShakers

Zen and the Choice of Commute Mode

A new study found that commuters opting for active travel modes and rail are more satisfied with their commute than those who take bus, metro, or drive.

August 22, 2014 - Science Direct

Mean Streets

Mapping the Happiest Places in the United States (Disneyland Not Included)

Researchers from Harvard and the University of British Columbia used "self-reported life satisfaction data" from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to locate the cities and regions where Americans are most happy (or unhappy).

July 31, 2014 - Vox

Complete Street Vancouver

Freedom of Mobility is the Key to Happiness

Cities designed for one type of mobility - the car - result in residents impaired by multiple types of ailments. To create a happier and healthier city, the solution is to facilitate many ways of getting around, especially alternatives to the auto.

November 4, 2013 - The Guardian

Want Happiness? Live Near Transit

According to a study by U. of Minn's Jason Cao published in the journal, Transportation, there is a positive correlation between living near light rail transit and satisfaction with life. He based it on the Hiawatha light rail line in Minneapolis.

September 14, 2013 - Salon

Smiling couple on a blanket in a park in Denmark

What Makes Nordic Countries So Happy?

The second United Nations' World Happiness Report shows that the world is becoming a happier place with 60 of the 130 countries analyzed improving. What is going on in the 30% of countries, including the United States, where happiness is declining?

September 11, 2013 - Fast Company Co.Exist

Pursuing the 'American Dream' Can Be a Real Downer

Tight housing inventories, rising prices, and conservative mortgage lenders are preventing many would-be homeowners from buying their piece of the 'American Dream'. Michelle Higgins explains why this may actually be a good thing.

July 15, 2013 - The New York Times

World population

High Density Means More Economic Growth and More Happiness, Too

Using new analysis of recent US Census data, Richard Florida demonstrates that “[c]ities and regions where density is more concentrated near their urban cores — appear to gain the biggest economic advantage.” That, and a tad more happiness.

November 30, 2012 - The Atlantic Cities

Does Urbanism Correlate with Happiness?

Planning policies related to the economy and environment are easier to measure, but Hazel Borys asks, "how do we measure national happiness, well-being, and social capital as they relate to the way we plan our neighborhoods, towns and cities?”

November 8, 2012 - Better Cities & Towns

Does Neighborhood Determine Personal Success?

Although the findings of a vast, decades-long study into the effectiveness of efforts to decrease the segregation of poor families did not turn up the results social scientists had hoped for, those efforts were successful in unexpected ways.

September 22, 2012 - The New York Times

UN Issues World Happiness Report

The first ever World Happiness Report, published by Columbia University's Earth Institute, reflects a new worldwide demand for more attention to happiness and absence of misery as criteria for government policy.

April 2, 2012 - The Earth Institute

Mapping the Happiest States

Richard Florida reports on a new map showing the results of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which analyzes a number of "happiness" factors on a statewide level.

February 28, 2012 - The Atlantic Cities

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