How artistic methods can reshape the healthy cities movement

The healthy cities movement is meant to address health of the people and how our surroundings can influence that, with a primary focus of physical health currently. With the increase of anxiety from climate change and the financial crisis however, there is a need for our surroundings to support us mentally with regard to our emotions and the anxiety we face more and more.

To address anxiety in our public realm and the emotional effects it has on people, artistic methods can be used as a part of the design process to better express and account for emotions than traditional methods of architecture can.

For my project, I designed using artistic methods to compile snippets of potential into a completed design. Using this approach, I was able to design by using artistic outputs to dictate architectural realisation to a detailed level fast and efficiently. This diverse and creative process was able to produce an emotionally in-tune public realm designed explicitly to mitigate the emotional effects of anxiety more effectively than a standard traditional architectural approach.

As part of my research, I established a connection with Greater Moving Manchester and using six principles from my alternative design approach I created a “planning policy supplement to address anxiety in the public realm.” This document explicitly includes examples and how to design for: Sensory input into the public realm; Privacy from passive observation; Giving options for observation whilst maintaining privacy; Embedding grounding techniques; Using local materials; and Biodiversity.

By addressing these principles explicitly in the public realm, and how they can be enacted, the effects of anxiety can be lessened throughout design, and cities can become healthier through health being engrained within its architecture.