David Byrne

David Byrne is the founder of Reasons to be Cheerful.

Is It Okay to Copy China?


A country that opposes human rights and democracy is also coming up with some smart solutions. Can we emulate the good without endorsing the bad?

100 Years of Urban Housing Success


As cities around the world confront an affordability crisis, a few have spent a century perfecting the art of subsidized housing for the masses.

Tchau Tchau, Malaria


In country after country, one of the world’s deadliest diseases is being eradicated. In many cases, it’s women leading the fight.

Ban the Bag!


Those ubiquitous flimsy shopping sacks are vanishing from country after country, leaving less plastic in our seas, our trees and our own digestive systems.

Austerity Is Not the Only Way: Portugal!

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While other European countries cut their budgets to the bone, Portugal lent its citizens a helping hand. Guess who came out on top.

Changing Behavior: Economic Incentives


Mexico’s tax on sugary drinks will save thousands of lives and millions of dollars. Ahhh… sweet social change.

The Center is Everywhere: Indonesia!


A collectivist spirit permeates this island nation’s art scene, where artists supporting artists has helped the creative ecology thrive.

Cars in Cities: How’s That Working Out?


They’re dangerous, destructive, polluting, expensive, inefficient and inequitable—not to mention a pain in the ass. Now cars are being chased off city streets. That’s progress.

Everybody Needs a Home


What would happen if our first step towards solving homelessness was to actually give people someplace to live?

Nonstop Art in Lagos


This bustling Nigerian city is bursting at the seams with art fairs, biennials and galleries. Now, some of the artists who left to find work elsewhere are returning home.

Can Lawsuits Save Planet Earth?


These days, the litigators hauling climate change scoundrels into court are doing more than any politician to keep our environment healthy and livable.

India’s Amazing Art Hub


Not long ago I ended up at a biennial in Kochi, a little Indian city with a thriving art scene. Could this be a place where artists can make a living?



More and more institutions and even whole countries are ending their investments in fossil fuels. This is happening. Money talks.

Doing the Right Thing is Good Business


These days, fossil fuels look like a shakier investment than ever. As more investors decide the smart money is on clean energy, a tipping point appears near.

Can We Change Our Behavior or are We Stuck?


Our future survival may depend on our ability to adopt more selfless habits. One city has proven we can do it.

The Ecology of Creativity


Is the art world in the midst of a vast diffusion? These days, creative ecologies are proliferating, and the center appears to be everywhere and nowhere.