Can City Design Help Mental Health?
Individuals residing in cities are more likely to develop a mental illness such as depression, anxiety or schizophrenia than those that live in rural areas. When individuals are suffering from a mental health illness, it affects more than just the individual - it impacts their surroundings as well. In this article we explore how cities not only affect mental health but also how designers can help reduce mental health illnesses related to urban design.
When the city is saturated with individuals suffering from mental health issues, it causes the city's health and social care services to increase costs. This is because individuals with mental-health problems can become disadvantaged in education and employment so their opportunities for economic and social participation will begin to decrease.
With mental health issues affecting the economy of the city, it's important for urban planners and public-health professionals to consider improvements that the city can make to accommodate and revitalize the city.
One way to improve the city is to expand the green space. Adding parks or lining the streets with trees are both excellent ways to address this since nature has been proven to benefit the mental health of the individual.
Another way to improve the city is by installing safe cycling infrastructure. This can have substantial mental-health benefits since individuals will feel safer while travelling to their destinations and will feel like their environment is adaptive to their needs.
Lastly, public spaces can install site architecture like benches and chess tables to facilitate social interaction and provide settings for community activities.