1st Edition

Infrastructure, Wellbeing and the Measurement of Happiness

Edited By Hoda Mahmoudi, Jenny Roe, Kate Seaman Copyright 2023
    188 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    188 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book takes an interdisciplinary approach to our understanding of infrastructure, and it’s influence on happiness and wellbeing, by examining the concept from economic, human development, architectural, urban planning, psychological, and ethical points of view. Providing insights from both research and practice the volume discusses how to develop happier cities and improve urban infrastructure for the wellbeing of the whole population.

    The book puts forth the argument that it is only in understanding the true nature of infrastructure’s reach – how it connects, supports, and enlivens human beings – that we can truly begin to understand infrastructure’s possibilities. It connects infrastructure to that most elusive of human qualities – happiness – examining the way infrastructure is fundamentally tied to human values and human well-being. The book seeks to suggest novel approaches, identify outmoded undertakings, and define new possibilities in order to maximize infrastructure’s impact for all people – with a focus on diversity, inclusion and equity.

    In seeking to define infrastructure broadly and examine its possibilities systematically this book brings together theory and evidence from multiple disciplinary perspectives including, sociology, urban studies, architecture, economics, and public health in order to advance a startling claim – that our lives, and the lives of others, can be substantively improved by greater adhesion to the principles and practices of infrastructure design for happiness and wellbeing.

    Introduction: Infrastructure, Wellbeing and the Measurement of Happiness

    Hoda Mahmoudi

    Section One: Measuring Wellbeing

    1. Building Happier Cities

    Aubrilyn Reeder

    2. The Geography of Desperation in America: Labor Force Participation, Mobility, Place, and Well-being

    Carol Graham and Sérgio Pinto

    3. Racism and US Urban Planning

    June Manning Thomas

    Section Two: Happiness, Infrastructure and Development

    4. Realization of Human Potential in Urban Contexts: Impediments and Promoters

    Carol Ryff

    5. The Renewed Importance of Happiness as a Goal of Development

    Rodrigo Márquez Arellano

    Section Three: Incorporating Wellbeing and Happiness Metrics in Infrastructure Design

    6. The Urban Nature Happiness Hypothesis

    Jenny Roe and Naomi A. Sachs

    7. Cultivation: A Model for Responsive, Complex Planning to Rigorously Implement the Infrastructure of Wellbeing.

    Tristan Cleveland and Houssam Elokda

    Conclusion: Infrastructure as a Means of Inspiring a New Future

    Kate Seaman, Hoda Mahmoudi, and Jenny Roe


    Hoda Mahmoudi has held The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland, College Park since 2012. As director of this endowed academic program, Professor Mahmoudi collaborates with a wide range of scholars, researchers, and practitioners to advance interdisciplinary analysis and open discourse on global peace. Before joining the University of Maryland faculty, Professor Mahmoudi served as the coordinator of the Research Department at the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa, Israel. Prior to that, Dr. Mahmoudi was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northeastern Illinois University, where she was also a faculty member in the Department of Sociology. Professor Mahmoudi is co-editor of Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Dignity and Human Rights (Emerald, 2019) and of Children and Globalization; Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Routledge, 2019). Professor Mahmoudi is also co-author of A World Without War (Bahá’í Publishing, 2020), co-editor of The Changing Ethos of Human Rights (Elgar, 2021), and most recently co-editor of Fundamental Challenges to Peace and Security: The Future of Humanity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022).

    Jenny Roe is Professor and Director of the Center for Design and Health in the School of Architecture, University of Virginia and Honorary Professor in the Urban Institute, Heriot Watt University, UK. An environmental psychologist and former head of Landscape Architecture for an international architectural practice, she writes and lectures on relationships between the built environment and our health and wellbeing. She has over 15 years’ experience in the use of ‘restorative environments’ to build healthier urban societies and communities including a vital role for urban parks and green space. Her publications include Restorative Cities: Urban Design for Mental Health and Wellbeing (Roe and McCay, 2021) which explores a new way of designing cities, one which places health equity and mental health at the forefront. She also advises various stakeholders on strategies for promoting and implementing healthy and human centered city design.

    Kate Seaman is Assistant Director of The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland. Dr. Seaman previously held positions at the University of Baltimore, the University of Bath and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of East Anglia. Dr. Seaman received her Ph.D. from Lancaster University. She is the author of UN-tied Nations; The UN, Peacekeeping and the development of global security governance (Ashgate, 2014). Dr. Seaman is the co-editor of The Changing Ethos of Human Rights (Elgar, 2021), and co-editor of Fundamental Challenges to Global Peace and Security: The Future of Humanity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022). Her research has been published in Global Governance and Politics and Governance.

    "This book sets out powerful ideas for having the right foundations to support improving people’s wellbeing beyond just an absence of illness. In combining theory and practical applications, the book allows built environment professionals to reflect on the growing commitment to embedding mental health considerations when designing the urban environment."

    Michael Chang, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, UK

    “Infrastructure is more than just roads and bridge, it includes social, civic and human infrastructure, all of which plays a significant role in our happiness and well-being. This terrific volume traces the development of infrastructure, its role in our happiness and well-being, and how to build better more inclusive infrastructure for the future.”

    Richard Florida, University of Toronto, author of The Rise of the Creative Class

    "As the climate crisis begins to manifest itself in our daily lived experiences and their relationships to infrastructure resilience this book makes a unique contribution to these debates by focusing upon the less well considered but equally critical issues of equity, well-being and affordances supported by our infrastructure choices."

    Dr. Steve Cinderby, Senior Researcher, Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York