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Urban space: a mental health perspective


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Dr Georgina Hosang, Goldsmiths, University of London as part of the Back to basics – human physiology, psychology & place-making dialogue.


Supported by ARCC Network, Feeling Good Foundation, Wellcome Trust, European Cultural Foundation

Published in: Environment
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Urban space: a mental health perspective

  1. 1.  Urban spaces: a mental health perspective Dr Georgina Hosang,; @DrHosang,
  2. 2. Outline  Mental health  Mental health & city living  Why?  Vulnerable individuals  The city itself  Further questions
  3. 3. Mental Health Functioning Behaviour Emotion Mental illness or mental health problems Adjustment Psychological well-being No health without mental health
  4. 4. Disorder Urban areas (%) Rural area (%) Depression 17.1 6.1 Alcohol dependence 5.5 3.5 Substance dependence 2.6 0.9 Prevalence of mental illnesses in the UK Two-fold increase in incidence of schizophrenia in urban compared to rural areas. Pattern not observed for all mental illnesses
  5. 5. London Mood Project City & Mental Health Characteristics of urban environments Individual factors
  6. 6. City Physical Social
  7. 7. Cities’ physical features & mental illness
  8. 8. The city as a social environment & mental health  Social support  Social isolation  Social capital (mutual trust, bonding & safety in neighbourhoods) = Stressor?  Spaces to facilitate  Community events  Social interaction/inclusion The city: physical & social place
  9. 9. Individuals characteristics Ethnicity Drug use Immigration status Interpretational style Gender Socio-economic status Employment Genetic vulnerability
  10. 10. London Mood Project
  11. 11. Summary  Higher rates of mental illnesses in urban rather than rural areas (but not for all disorders).  Both physical and social features of the environment are linked to mental health.  Particular individuals could be vulnerable to the detrimental effects of the city.  Remaining questions are concerned with  Mechanisms  Action
  12. 12.  Prosocial Place team  Neda Nobari-Nazari  Jamal Wallace  Megan Harrington  Amandeep Virk  Linda Walker  Tanya Frankel Acknowledgements RICHARD BENJAMIN TRUST Supporting Innovative Research
  13. 13. References  Guite, HF, Clark, C & Ackrill, G (2006). The impact of the physical and urban environment on mental well-being. Public Health, 120, 1117-1126.  Heinz, A, Deserno, L, & Reininghaus, U. (2013). Urbanicity, social adversity and psychosis. World Psychiatry, 12(3) 187-197