Cities & Happiness

A City´s defence

However there is also a counter movement to Okulicz-Kozaryn´s view, which enormously upgrades the city life. The American economist Edward Glaeser is an advocate of the city. Glaeser designates the city as the unprecedented innovation which makes people richer, smarter, healthier and even happier. Lots of ideas circulate in cities. In combination with the increasing level of education people are also more productive. Innovation and productivity create diverse cities which might combine vibrant artists’ communities as well as global competitiveness. As negative as Okulicz-Kozaryn presents the city life it is just as strongly it is ideologized by Glaeser. To a large extent, Glaeser omits in his book that cities represent the capitalism´s central motor.
Okulicz-Kozaryn strongly emphasizes that cities are coupled with unhappier people due to the unnatural habitat. His counterparty Glaeser favours the city life and points out the various advantages. It might be the best for each person to decide for himself whether to live in the city or a more rural town. Each single person should know best where to be happier. Very often people do not have another choice as to move into the city or they do not have the funds to move to another place. People, however, are very often able to adapt to their surroundings and make living more enjoyable by e.g. planting lots of flowers on the balcony in the city. People can actively take control of their own lives and thereby being able to shape their future. Thus the way of living is very important to maximize happiness.


  1. Glaeser, Edward (2012). Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier. New York: The Penguin Press.
  2. Okulicz-Kozaryn, Adam (2015). Happiness and Place: Cities v Nature. Why Life is Better Outside of the City?
  3. Scott, Allen J. (2012). Book Review on Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward Glaeser. Economic Geography, 88 (1), S. 97-100.
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  • Prof. Dr. Andrew Oswald Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
  • Prof. Dr. Ronnie Schöb Professor for International Public Economics, Free University Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Ruut Veenhoven Emeritus Professor Social Conditions of Human Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Prof. Dr. Carmelo Vazquez President of the International Positive Psychology association
  • Prof. Dr. Marc Hassenzahl Folkwang University Essen
  • Dr. Martijn Burger Academic Director Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation
  • Dr. Adam Okulicz Kozaryn Researcher Rutgers University
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