Happy City Denver experiments

Denver, Colorado

Does the way we commute affect how generous we are? And what happens when city dwellers share their feelings and personal burdens with complete strangers?

Happy Cities explored these questions with the Denver Theatre District and contemporary artist Stuart Semple in two very different social experiments. Both were part of Happy City Denver, a citywide, six-week series of art interventions that launched in May 2018.

We discovered some interesting answers. Semple’s “Emotional Baggage Drop” installation—a public confessional located in Union Station—revealed evidence that art installations can play a role in reducing social isolation. In our “Multi-modal Altruism” survey, which assessed people’s generosity based on their transportation choices, we found that cyclists were the most generous of all commuters.

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