Town planning and mental health: a personal perspective

five lane city highway full of cars. Town planning and mental health.Jason Barr is an urban planner who lives with several mental health diagnoses. He has a unique perspective to share when it comes to mental health and urban planning and design. His article focuses on his personal experiences in different built environments, and how those experiences impacted his mental well-being.

Barr emphasises the need to design for people and not cars, and the importance of minimising urban sprawl. Given the number of people with a mental health condition, this is a useful perspective on mental health and wellbeing. 

Barr concludes: “As planners, we all know one size does not fit all when it comes to built environments and how we experience them. Being able to live within a community built for people and not cars becomes even more crucial than the literature already tells us it is. Its real life. I hope my story can be a reminder to planners and designers everywhere that physical health is not the only dimension of our well-being that we need to pay attention to. Equally important is the consideration of how our cities and towns impact those with mental illnesses. I hope my story “drives” that home. Real consequences on real lives. It is my sincere hope that those who are reading this see that, and take these words into consideration as they craft their local neighborhoods, municipalities, and regions.”

The title of the article is: The impact of town planning on my own mental health as a town planner. Published in the Journal of Urban Design and Mental Health. A short and very readable article. 

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