Happy: Cities and Public Happiness in Post-War Europe is the result of a fascinating search for expressions and representations of happiness in the European city during the second half of the 20th century. Images of joy in which there is a relationship between three elements--happiness, the city, and space--are collated and analyzed. Drawing extensively from Europe as a whole, from the Ukraine in the east to the Netherlands in the west, Rovanieimi in the north to Marbella in the south, this study by experts on more than 50 cities was coordinated by an international research team, and presents a picture that transcends the incidental and reveals fundamental motifs in the dynamics of our thinking about the city. Happy presents an abundance of postcards, posters, and photographs, and is a seminal exploration of the entire European territory using the theme of happiness. This stunning, unique overview of 50 years of post-War European history relating to one of the world's most universal themes leaves readers informed, pensive, entertained, and above all, happy.
Edited by Cor Wagenaar.
Essays by Aaron Betsky, Ronald Brouwer, Helma Hellinga, Michelle Provoost, Paolo Scrivano and Ed Taverne.
Foreword by Kristin Feireiss.
Flexi-bound, 6.5 x 9.5 in./320 pgs / 200 color and 100 b&w.
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Studio: NAi Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.75" Width: 7" Height: 9.25" Weight: 3.25 lbs.
Release Date Mar 15, 2005
Publisher NAi Publishers
ISBN 9056624083 ISBN13 9789056624088
Happy: Cities and Public Happiness in Post-War Europe is a concise and immensely entertaining assembly of photos and essays. The format, with the varied font sizes, colors and allignment, makes for an insightful and visually compelling study of well-intended (but ultimately superficially) complementary narratives of common politik throughout post-war Europe's public spaces. Very entertaining read.
casually enjoyable glance at social building issues of the 20th century Jul 26, 2005
"happy" is a travelogue of sorts. it's split into approximately 100 pieces ranging from a single page to 10 or more pages. the book was designed by rick vermeulen so it's as interesting graphically as it is content-wise. it's organized into 12 subsections dealing with issues such as "consumerism", "a car for everyone", "monuments" or "socialist-realist palaces for the common man". a lot of the book is quite focused on (failures of) soviet building initiatives as implemented in places like kaunas, tblisi, warsaw, budapest, etc. and the cultural impact left today by these experiments in creating happiness. when not dealing with the soviets, another favorite target is planned communities in western europe -- places like walden 7 in barcelona, hoogvliet in rotterdam or christiana in copenhagen. these sites are examined ideologically and then practically and it becomes obvious that regardless of the politics, the reality of these places never quite seems to line up with the goals. the writers drop enough historical, cultural and consumer context for you to begin imagining why attempting to build happiness into our cities is an exercise doomed to end in frustration.
"happy" isn't an outstanding book, but it's far from a bad one either. the breadth of its approach made a lot of connections for me in subject matter i wasn't previously that familiar with and sent me off in a few new directions to explore further on my own. that is usually all i can ever expect of a good book.