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June 2019
17×24 cm, 328 pages, softcover
ISBN French 978-3-95679-502-2
ISBN English 978-3-95679-486-5
Laurenz Brunner, Geoff Han
CCA Canadian Centre for Architecture

How do we design our cities when our most intimate experiences are incessantly tracked and our feelings become the base of new modes of production that prioritize the immaterial over the material? Since the 2008 financial crisis, lists of well-being indicators, happiness indexes, and quality-of-life rankings have become viral. Concurrently, the emotional data presented in these surveys—including perceptions on questions such as loneliness, friendship, and intimate fears—feed an expanding political agenda of happiness and a new form of market whose most decisive asset is “affect.”

Our Happy Life investigates the architectural implications of this trend by dissecting and questioning the political, economic, and emotional conditions that generate space today. Organized as a visual narrative with critical readings by Will Davies, Daniel Fujiwara, Simon Fujiwara, Ingo Niermann, Deane Simpson, and Mirko Zardini, the book reveals architecture, city, and landscape as contested surfaces, caught between the intangible guidelines of happiness indexes, the new marketplace of emotions, and the relentless ideology of positivity.

This volume was published in conjunction with the eponymous exhibition at the CCA from May 8 to October 13, 2019.