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Talk to a Stranger in the Elevator

jennifer prod

What role does geography play in our happiness? Can we increase our happiness by changing our zip code? The journalist Charles Montgomery studies how urban design affects human happiness, and he believes that we can manufacture joy through the urban landscape. Specifically, he believes that we can “redesign our cities, our minds, and our own behaviors”… ”to build a city that is more convivial, more fair, more fun, and more happy.”

Montgomery offers a number of ways to make the city more fun, and my favorite suggestion is starting conversations in elevators. He recognizes our inclination for personal space, but he believes that the benefits of a good conversation outweigh the potential awkwardness : “Even a casual conversation with strangers has the potential to flood your system with feel-good hormones. Go ahead. Talk about the weather.”

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