Award-Winning Author of "Happy City" Charles Montgomery to Speak at Viterbo April 4

March 25, 2019

Contact Rick Kyte at 608-796-3704 or rlkyte@viterbo.eduor Nicole Van Ert at 608-796-3616 or


LA CROSSE, Wis. – Award-winning author, urbanist, and leader of a consultancy designed to build more happiness into cities Charles Montgomery will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 4 in the Viterbo University Fine Arts Center Main Theatre.

Montgomery is the author of the book Happy City, about which The New York Times wrote: “Happy City is not only readable but stimulating. It raises issues most of us have avoided for too long. Do we live in neighborhoods that make us happy? That is not a silly question. Montgomery encourages us to ask it without embarrassment, and to think intelligently about the answer.”

Montgomery has advised and presented to planners, students, and decision-makers across the U.S., Canada, the UK, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico. He also creates experiments that challenge people to see cities—and themselves—in entirely new ways. Montgomery’s Home for the Games initiative led hundreds of people to follow his example and open their homes to strangers during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. 

Turning the lessons from Happy City into a tool for helping people bring more happiness into their cities, Montgomery and his team are transforming places and people’s lives in Mexico City, Auckland, London, and elsewhere. Montgomery launched the world’s first Happy Neighborhood Audit in Mexico City, and his team also began work with the World Health Organization’s Europe Healthy Cities Unit. He has also been working with TIME magazine on an interactive survey exploring happiness in American cities.

Montgomery’s writings on urban planning, psychology, culture, and history have appeared in magazines and journals on three continents. Among his awards is a Citation of Merit from the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society for outstanding contribution towards public understanding of climate change science. His first book, The Last Heathen, won the 2005 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction and vigorous praise from reviewers in The New York TimesThe Guardian, and elsewhere.

This presentation is part of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership’s spring 2019 lecture series and 2019 interdisciplinary conference. The conference, on the topic of The Ethical City, seeks to gather scholars for a national conversation on the roles of individuals, institutions, businesses, and government agencies in providing for the possibility of an ethical life together in contemporary urban settings.

 The presentation is free and open to the public. No tickets are necessary, but seating is limited. For a full schedule of D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership events, visit