There are a few books that have changed the way we look at the world and our work. You might find a stack of several copies around our office and on our leaders’ desks. We recommend these books to folks who would like to join our team, partner with us on projects, or just understand our worldview a little better. One of the heavy hitters on the Specialized bookshelf is Charles Montgomery’s Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design – a favorite of Specialized CEO Jeremy Hudson.
“I love this book because the author wasn’t involved in real estate or design – he is a journalist who wanted to know what specific elements of the built environment made people happy,” says Jeremy. “His discoveries are fascinating, and I find myself thinking back to them every day.”
Happy Cities research has spawned numerous side projects, including Happy Homes, which focuses on increasing happiness in multifamily housing. The Happy Homes Toolkit draws on evidence from psychology, neuroscience, public health and other fields to identify how policy, design, and programming influence social connections in multifamily housing.
When we discovered the toolkit a year ago, we began a company-wide study of each of Happy Cities’ evidence-based principles, strategies and actions, divided into ten areas including walkability, nature, comfort, and doing things together. This study, presented by team members from across our company, has reinforced current practices and challenged others. We hope you’ll pick it up to understand a little more about how the built environment contributes to happiness, and how we can work together to create more of it.