Europe’s first Urban Psychology Summit heralded great success

“We know more about what makes a good habitat for mountain gorillas than we do about living in our own cities”

Danish architect Jan Gehl

Chris Murray reports for the Urban Psyche website:

“CITY, PSYCHOLOGY, PLACE: AN URBAN PSYCHOLOGY SUMMIT

The global rise in urban living poses many challenges for city leadership: climate, air quality, cohesion and inequality are but a few.  Yet poor levels of urban mental health – sometimes twice as bad as non-urban – are a hidden issue of deep concern, and whilst cities can create a kind of psychological robustness, they can also have impacts on emotional health.

70% of the world will live in a city by 2050 – the UK is already about 80% – yet 100 years ago it was nearer 20%.  We are highly adaptable, but cities are new in evolutionary terms, so we need to question their emotional impacts, and how accentuate the positive.

As Danish architect Jan Gehl put it: ‘we know more about what makes a good habitat for mountain gorillas than we do about living in our own cities’.  Why is it then that psychology, the discipline concerned most with emotional wellbeing, is almost absent from urban policy?

Last week, psychologists, psychiatrists, economists and urbanists from the UK, US and Europe gathered to address exactly this issue, to ask: whether we need an ‘urban psychology’; what the biggest areas of concern are; and how we might make cities that better help people develop from pre-birth onwards …”

You can read more here.

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