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Mental health: the Cinderella of urban design (and ways in which she should go to the ball)

  2. Why is mental health the Cinderella of urban design? • Stigma • Self-fulfilling prophecy of low priority • Complexity
  3. “It took decades to integrate knowledge about the biomedical effects of the cityscape into (my) profession. But when it comes to mental health, we haven’t a clue.’ – Urban Planner, Basel, Switzerland
  4. UD/MH is a think tank asking: how can we build better mental health into our cities? • Make the case for urban design for mental health • Empower action • Host dialogues • Participate in panels • Run consultations • Prompt and publish new research and op- eds (Sanity & Urbanity, journal) • Produce research summaries and guidelines • Curate research • Showcase innovation • Use social media and web channels Share knowledge Increase knowledge Motivate action Increase cross- sector discussion UD/MH
  6. Conscious Cities (using data to improve mental health) WE KNOW People’s mental health and wellbeing is affected by the built environment – and we can measure it WE DON’T KNOW How cities can cost- effectively measure, identify and act on local urban design Urban Mind Project
  7. Exposure to Nature WE KNOW: Nature exposure can improve mental health including depression, stress, ADHD and more. WE DON’T KNOW Specific impacts of ‘dose’ - type/duration/etc for exposures.
  8. Urban design has a key role in older people’s mental health WE KNOW Urban design can help reduce dementia- related problems, plus anxiety and depression in older people . WE DON’T KNOW How to build cities that are optimised for older people and those with
  9. Transportation WE KNOW: Stressful commutes can increase anger, anxiety, hostility; decrease sleep and social opportunity; other commutes can be relaxing, active and rejuvenating. WE DON’T KNOW How to change culture and optimise urban transport design for better mental health.
  10. From the hospital to the street WE KNOW Significant investments are being made in research to design healthcare facilities in ways that improve mental health. WE DON’T KNOW How to extrapolate these findings to the wider built environment.
  11. Sensory input from the built environment WE KNOW Sound, art, and the use of colour can impact on anxiety, anger, stress, mood and sleep. WE DON’T KNOW How to use sound, colour, and other sensory inputs in urban design to improve mental health.
  12. Urban design to heal traumascapes WE KNOW • People often have negative psychological reactions to settings they associate with trauma. WE DON’T KNOW • How to leverage urban design to
  13. How can we take Cinderella to the ball? • Research/ask people about how you can integrate mental health into your urban design projects and policies • Encourage others to take mental health into consideration in their projects • Share and build knowledge, interest and the will to act • Talk, write, and showcase your research, projects and ideas • Get involved in a community of practice • Help develop and use good practical
  14. To learn more: Visit Contact or @urbandesignmh Read (op-eds) We should think more about the link between urban design and mental health Psychogeography: exploring the brain's reactions to urban design The importance of urban design in helping heal traumascapes Urban design and mental health: there's an app for that