McCay reports on ways that urban design can support mental health. As she details “There are four key areas of opportunity for urban planners and designers. . . . . Accessibility to green places in the course of people’s daily routines. . . . activity is one of the most important design opportunities for mental health [so providing opportunities to be active are recommended]. . . . Mental health is closely associated with strong social connections and social capital. . . . there is extensive potential for designers to innovate, creating features within projects that facilitate positive, safe, natural interactions amongst people and foster a sense of community, integration and belonging. . . . long, unchanging facades that extend across city blocks and cause people’s minds to dwell on negative thoughts. . . . constant low-level threats can keep the body in an unnatural habitual state of preparation, which can affect mood and stress in the long term. . . . . Appropriate design of roads, good street lighting, and distinct landmarks and wayfinding cues are just some of the design features that can increase perceptions of safety in a neighbourhood.”
Layla McCay 2017. “Designing Mental Health into Cities.” The Urban Design Journal, http://www.udg.org.uk/publications/urban-design-journal-issue/urban-design-142.