Interdisciplinary Forum on
Neuro-UrbanismInvestigating the cohesion between cities and psyche
What is Neuro-Urbanism?
Does city living affect our mental health? Statistics suggest that city dwellers are at greater risk of suffering from some kind of stress-related disorder. They are 1.4 times more likely to suffer from depression; the figure is 1.2 times for anxiety. It would seem that urban living has some kind of effect on city dwellers’ minds. Having said that, people living in cities benefit from the better education and more sophisticated medical care that cities offer. “Neuro-urbanism” is a new scientific approach that aims to investigate the connection between cities and the psyche of their inhabitants. It was coined by an academic work group initiated by the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft, which, through its Interdisciplinary Forum on Neuro-Urbanism, continues to research and provide the organisational framework for this key topic. With an award: the Initiative "Germany – Land of ideas" has selected the Forum Neuro-Urbanism as one of 100 special innovations in 2018.
How we shape our growing cities is decisive for our future quality of life. This also means that the prerequisites for mental wellbeing need to be met. In which parts of cities do we feel most stressed, and why? What kinds of architecture affect our psyche? Can urban planning help to minimise the stress of urban life? Perspectives on Neuro-Urbanism can lead the way towards a bright, sustainable urban society.
How does the Interdisciplinary Forum on Neuro-Urbanism work?
The interaction between different disciplines is essential for Neuro-Urbanism: urban planners and psychiatrists cooperate in the Forum on Neuro-Urbanism, which has been hosting interdisciplinary salons since 2015. Other participants are architects, psychologists, a futurologist, a sociologist, a philosopher and a public health expert. One of the goals of these salons is to develop a concrete research agenda for large-scale implementation. With the “Charta Neuro-Urbanism”, the Forum summed up results of the interdisciplinary debate on mental health in cities, under the leadership of psychiatrist PD Dr. med Mazda Adli in 2019. In nine thematic areas like density, economy, social relations or public spaces, the Forum’s members stated theses based on their research and thereupon, derived concrete requirements for urban planning processes. Thus, the research activities generate a political mandate for developing public space in our cities with optimal conditions for those who live in them.