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How Can Urban Design Restore Mental Health and Wellbeing? Layla McCay

Festival of the Future City
Layla McCay

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Layla McCay explores a new way of designing cities, one which places mental health and wellness at the forefront.

Overcrowding, noise and air pollution, long commutes and lack of daylight can take a huge toll on the mental wellbeing of city-dwellers. The restrictions faced by city residents around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic has brought home just how much urban design can affect our mental health – and created an imperative to seize this opportunity. With mental healthcare services under increasing pressure, could a better approach to urban design and planning provide a solution?

McCay examines a range of strategies – from sensory architecture to place-making for creativity and community – that will appeal to designers and planners, health practitioners and researchers alike, as well as providing compelling insights for anyone who cares about how our surroundings affect us.

She is in conversation with Jenny Lacey.

Restorative Cities: Urban Design for Mental Health and Wellbeing by Jenny Roe and Layla McCay is published by Bloomsbury. Buy a copy from from Waterstones, our bookselling partners.

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Supported by

Jenny Lacey

Jenny Lacey was for many years an award-winning radio presenter, working for LBC and for the BBC. She was the BBC’s Education Correspondent for the South West, and became Managing Editor of BBC Radio Gloucestershire and then BBC Radio Bristol. She received the Variety Club Independent Radio Personality of the Year award for her work.

Layla McCay

Layla MCay is Director of the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health, London. A psychiatrist and public health and health systems specialist, she is co-editor of Urban Mental Health and managing editor of the Journal of Urban Design and Mental Health. She is also Director of Policy at the NHS Confederation. She features regularly in a wide range of print and broadcast media, from the Financial Times to BBC Question Time. She is the co-author of Restorative Cities: Urban Design for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

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Festival of the Future City

Festival of the Future City takes place every two years in Bristol. This year – due to the pandemic – the festival brings together live on-stage, live online and pre-recorded events. Check the project page for details and follow #FutureCity21 on Twitter.

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