This book takes an interdisciplinary approach to our understanding of infrastructure, and it’s influence on happiness and wellbeing, by examining the concept from economic, human development, architectural, urban planning, psychological, and ethical points of view. Providing insights from both research and practice the volume discusses how to develop happier cities and improve urban infrastructure for the wellbeing of the whole population.

The book puts forth the argument that it is only in understanding the true nature of infrastructure’s reach – how it connects, supports, and enlivens human beings – that we can truly begin to understand infrastructure’s possibilities. It connects infrastructure to that most elusive of human qualities – happiness – examining the way infrastructure is fundamentally tied to human values and human well-being. The book seeks to suggest novel approaches, identify outmoded undertakings, and define new possibilities in order to maximize infrastructure’s impact for all people – with a focus on diversity, inclusion and equity.

In seeking to define infrastructure broadly and examine its possibilities systematically this book brings together theory and evidence from multiple disciplinary perspectives including, sociology, urban studies, architecture, economics, and public health in order to advance a startling claim – that our lives, and the lives of others, can be substantively improved by greater adhesion to the principles and practices of infrastructure design for happiness and wellbeing.

Introduction: Infrastructure, Wellbeing and the Measurement of Happiness

Hoda Mahmoudi

Section One: Measuring Wellbeing

1. Building Happier Cities

Aubrilyn Reeder

2. The Geography of Desperation in America: Labor Force Participation, Mobility, Place, and Well-being

Carol Graham and Sérgio Pinto

3. Racism and US Urban Planning

June Manning Thomas

Section Two: Happiness, Infrastructure and Development

4. Realization of Human Potential in Urban Contexts: Impediments and Promoters

Carol Ryff

5. The Renewed Importance of Happiness as a Goal of Development

Rodrigo Márquez Arellano

Section Three: Incorporating Wellbeing and Happiness Metrics in Infrastructure Design

6. The Urban Nature Happiness Hypothesis

Jenny Roe and Naomi A. Sachs

7. Cultivation: A Model for Responsive, Complex Planning to Rigorously Implement the Infrastructure of Wellbeing.

Tristan Cleveland and Houssam Elokda

Conclusion: Infrastructure as a Means of Inspiring a New Future

Kate Seaman, Hoda Mahmoudi, and Jenny Roe