Resilience and the City
Good street design can improve our health
With lockdown came an increased awareness of how the design of our locales affects our health. A team from The Bartlett, already researching the impact of street design on our health, decided to catalogue and map out its impact.
All this work focuses primarily on physical health, but the next frontier in urban design and planning is designing for mental health – an equally important dimension to our wellbeing that was starkly demonstrated during the Covid-19. This is an emerging area of research that is even more challenging than physical health due to the complexities in data collection and establishing the link between mental health outcomes and the characteristics of the built environment.
This research is only just starting but we hope to have the first findings in 2022, which will then be used in similar ways to develop tools and indicators that can be used by both the public and professionals to understand and design streets and environments that minimise the negative impacts and maximise the positive impacts of our environments on our mental health. Bringing together both physical and mental health analytical approaches in to the design and planning of our streets and urban environments is urgently needed and something that is now finally on the horizon.