A Case Study of Urban Design for Wellbeing and Mental Health in Brighton, UK

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Verity Parkin
Alys Daniels-Creasey


Brighton, a vibrant, densely-populated city on the south-east coast of the UK, has worse mental health outcomes than the average for UK cities. Despite this, there have been efforts made to rectify this through promising planning and policy actions and aspirations. Through interviews with councillors, planners, academics, and third sector and design practitioners living and working in the city, and a selection of case studies, we seek to better understand the relationship between urban design and mental health in Brighton. Relating interview data to the ‘Mind the GAPS’ framework, we conclude the following as vital for mental health promotion through design of public space: safe public and living spaces, enriched social infrastructure, accessible transport options, co-production of design, visual mapping of data and citizen involvement in urban planning.

Article Details

City case studies
Author Biographies

Verity Parkin, University of Birmingham

At the time of writing this case study Verity Parkin completed a BA (Hons) in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham (2021), focusing on interdisciplinary connections between urban planning, psychology and identity politics. Since then she has completed a graduate programme at the Wellcome Trust, working across user experience design, government relations and in Wellcome Collection’s research and exhibitions team. She now works for an experience design agency specialising in museum and exhibition design. Verity is interested in how people experience public space and the emotional impact of design decisions. She also advocates for inclusive models of engagement in urban planning and has facilitated workshops with city councils in the UK and Canada. She is on LinkedIn.

Alys Daniels-Creasey, University of Edinburgh

At the time of writing the case study, Alys Daniels-Creasey completed a BA (Hons) in Sociology at the University of York (2021). She went on to complete a MSc by Research in Health Humanities and Arts at the University of Edinburgh (2023) and is currently working towards a PhD in Human Geography. She has previously worked at Edinburgh Earth Initiative, the James Hutton Institute, the Scottish Centre for Social Research, and Student Minds on various research and communications projects centred on people and place. She is on LinkedIn and (sporadically) on X @alys_dc