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Downtown Futures Series: Designing Cities for Mental Health

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How might a city designed with mental well-being in mind prevent such sharp declines in mental health during a collective crisis?

The restrictions faced by city residents around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic brought home just how much urban design can affect mental health. City dwellers with poor pedestrian or cycling infrastructure, limited access to parks and plazas, or no nearby public spaces for serendipitous human connection suffered in isolation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anxiety was three times more prevalent in 2020 than 2019, and depression was four times more prevalent.

How could a city designed with mental health in mind have prevented such sharp declines in mental health during a collective crisis? How are leaders in the City of Chicago planning with this in mind? In Downtown Futures Series: Designing Cities for Mental Health, professionals in environmental psychology, landscape architecture, and environmental restoration and conservation discuss how to seize the opportunity presented by the coronavirus pandemic to prioritize mental health in urban design.

This event has passed. Read a summary and view a full recording of the session here.

Moderator: David Broz, Principal, Gensler


Panelists: Jennifer Roe, PhD, Director, Center for Design & Health, University of Virginia; Margaret Frisbie, Executive Director of Friends of the Chicago River


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