Mental Health and the Urban Environment
Kochi, Ernakulam district, Kerala, 682005, India
This thesis investigates the relationship between the urban environment and mental wellbeing by using mental health as the main lens
This thesis aims to investigate the relationship between the urban environment and mental wellbeing by using mental health as the main lens to achieve liveable urbanism. Through the principles of an urban design code that promotes mental health, and a primary health centre for mental wellness, Kochi becomes an example of how a city can be designed with a truly holistic approach to health in mind.
A liveable city is a mentally healthy city, one that puts on the forefront their citizens’ mental health in proactive and supportive ways. While the term ‘liveable’ can be described by various definitions, a common thread between them is the emphasis on the resilience of the community, one that is prepared to face the challenges of the future. Investing in mental health is therefore essential, since the population’s copying mechanisms, along with productive and social engagement to the city are directly linked to the people’s mental wellness.
Through an urban design code that promotes mental health in Kochi and integration of mental support into primary healthcare, the urban strategy to improve the situation is clear. The catalyst project examines how architectural design benefits mental health. The scheme was design with the conducive principles of mental health in mind; interaction, nature and exercise. Nature is prominent through the facades and greenery of the public space, interaction is promoted through the various sitting areas that are not isolated and the visibility of activity within the site, and lastly, exercise is encouraged by using the site as a short cut and by creating transitional paths of privacy within the scheme.
The chosen site is full of unhealthy conditions, and this thesis explored a way to minimize them and in return, introduce conducive elements, in an attempt to inspire the heart of the city to be mentally healthy, and liveable.