Recently, I had the good fortune of being able to integrate a research trip into some travel for work.  Vauban, Copenhagen, and Malmo represent some of the happiest cities in the world.  Understanding the relationship between urban design, transit, open space and social factors is key to making better places in the future.  This seems logical enough, but more often than not, the intangible pursuit of happiness isn't a part of our design, planning and development dialogues.  Typically, we're focused on market yields, convenience, security, and reliance on what is most familiar and safe.  Those norms result in city development exemplified by Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road - an image of economic boom, but a place where human interaction on the street is next to impossible.  Incorporating visits to great examples of happy cities led us to look for good examples in Dubai to build off of.   As the city of Dubai and it's population matures, creating an actual cohesive sense of place becomes increasingly desirable and our design thinking will need to shift to the broader notion of creating places for people, not just monuments to economic boon - the great thing about this is design then becomes a way to seek improvement not just a vehicle of aesthetics.  Enjoy the show...

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