Saturday, January 29, 2005

Measuring the impacts of the built environment

I came across a couple of pieces of research on measuring impacts of the built environment on two different areas. The first was a research article (quoted in Regeneration and Renewal magazine) on the impact of the built environment on mental health. The research demonstrated the relationship between various environmental features and the prevalence of depression. The result was that higher levels of depression were associated with the incidence of graffiti, badly maintained communal public spaces, deck access (basically tower blocks since the 1960s). The article appears in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2002-- it's called 'Mental Health and the Built Environment: A cross-sectional survey of individual and contextual risk factors for depression'.

The other initiative, involving Yorkshire Forward, CABE and the ODPM, seeks to measure the impact of physical regeneration on economic development. Just did a very quick search and couldn't find anything about it on the web (but didn't look very hard)-- I read about it in Regeneration and Renewal. The project is being led by Barra MacRuairi, head of Yorkshire Forward Renaissance Towns and Cities.

Both very interesting projects... the results of which could be used to justify investment in the public realm. Inputs and outputs are very important when seeking funding!


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