JDD Specialties has expertise writing about community development, urban design and sustainable communities. An article for LISC Phoenix that recaps “Happy City” author Charles Montgomery’s May 2017 visit to the Valley of the Sun is an example of that work.
(Editor’s note: This blog is part of a LISC Phoenix monthly series, Communities on the Line.)
The Phoenix metropolitan area has a world-class freeway system and wide arterial streets laid out in a marvelous grid pattern to move people around and within a vast, car-dependent region. Residents can’t be happy.
Seriously. Neuropsychology, sociology and public health lessons about happiness tell us what we’ve done over 30 years to build communities and move cars in the region generally is at odds with creating environments for widespread personal satisfaction.
Urban design patterns throughout greater Phoenix discourage social connections vital to the desired human condition we call happiness or well-being, urbanist Charles Montgomery said during a recent visit. A growing body of scientific research tells us unhappiness invites social, health and economic miseries that stifle individual and community prosperity, he said.
“Cities really do make or break our well-being in their systems, through architecture, through public space,” Montgomery said. “They change how we feel, they change how we move and they change how we treat other people in ways most of us don’t even realize.”