Psychology & The City: The Hidden Dimension

This book has been co-authored by Charles Landry and Chris Murray. The publishers say:

“Cities are the most complex and important of all human inventions.  Without them, much of the world we know could not exist.  Why then, when over 50% of the planet lives in a city and rising, do we know so little about their emotional impacts?  It is astonishing that psychology, the discipline that deals most closely with these issues, is almost absent from urban policy.  Over two years, Chris Murray and Charles Landry researched the potential for psychology to help us reinvent city living.  The results are published in Psychology & the City: The Hidden Dimension

As the Danish urbanist, Jan Gehl said ‘it is ironic that we know more about the habitat of mountain gorillas than we do about the habitat of people’.  We have programmes for Smart Cities, Green Cities, Healthy Cities. Cities of culture, hi tech, low carbon, the past and the future.  But where are people in all of this?

Each urban programme inches our knowledge forward, yet cities are too often seen as machines, or inanimate clumps of buildings and technology.  This view misses the essential nature of what has become our primary human habitat, and we should look again.

As well as interacting with cities through work, housing, transport, we also have a constant lived emotional experience in them, which the evidence clearly shows impacts massively and directly on our development and wellbeing.  Mental health figures in cities are generally worse than rural areas, and worsen the bigger a city gets.  This in no sense makes cities bad – they are the solution not the problem – and is largely connected to concentrations of urban poverty.  It is however an issue that we have to confront in our place making. There is plenty of evidence from psychology to help us do exactly that, but we seem oddly to ignore it …”

You can read more from here. And you can order copies of the book from here.

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