Lulu Series: Charles Montgomery
For years, self-help experts have told us that we need to do inner work in order to improve our lives. But what if our cities themselves had the power to make or break our happiness? Drawing on brain science, psychology, and rich personal stories, Charles Montgomery explains how cities influence how we feel, behave, and treat other people in ways most of us never realize. Everything from the length of your commute to the depth of your front yard can have an unseen effect on your mind, emotions, and social life. But Charles uses fascinating and often funny social experiments to demonstrate that we are not helpless. We can change our lives by changing our relationship with our cities—and each other. By understanding the effect that design has on our emotions and decisions, we can all share this empowering new vision of city life.
Charles has won numerous awards for his writing on urban planning, psychology, culture and history. His first book, The Last Heathen (published internationally as The Shark God), won the 2005 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction and the Hubert Evans Prize for Non-fiction. In 2011, working with the BMW Guggenheim Lab, psychologist Colin Ellard, and the citizens of New York City, he used mobile phone applications to map the emotions of public space in the Lower East Side. At the Museum of Vancouver and elsewhere, he continues to create public programs that help citizens treat their cities as hands-on laboratories.
This talk will be preceded by a performance by M’Girl, a ensemble of Indigenous women with a collective of stories and song about water ways, the strength of the four-legged, the winged ones and the gifts received from Mother Earth. M’Girls’ percussive-based Aboriginal hand drum songs blend harmonies into a contemporary gospel style. Led by Renae Morriseau, their music reflects the personal journeys and cultural worldviews held respectfully by each M’Girl living within the urban world of the Lower Mainland of BC. More at mgirlmusic.ca.