We are award winning urban designers and social scientists concerned with the negative effects of urban living and the unacceptable and costly impact this can have on the mental health and wellbeing of all citizens.
Prosocial Place is a practical response to the research that tells us that contemporary cities are not good for us, and it is our aim to identify and understand those aspects of the built environment that create this ‘urban penalty’, and to promote practical mechanisms to reverse their impact. We are pro-city, but understand that in order to make them liveable for all in society, modern cities need to be equitable.
We are about building resilient communities and places which demands an understanding of the interactions between mental, social and physical capital and in the effective management of those interactions to enable a flourishing economy and natural environment. This ‘understanding’ can be found at the intersection of distinct knowledge bases: health and wellbeing; public mental health; built environment and economic development.
Creating and supporting resilient communities is in the interests of everyone, because negative impacts on individuals in turn influence the performance of the wider town or city. Poorly performing places become ‘toxic assets’ that generate increasing negative costs and fail to maintain or attract investment.
People change their behaviour in resource poor or ‘harsh’ environments, becoming disinvested and defensive. These perfectly natural, adaptive changes, are soon reflected in the built environment as barriers that promote a downward spiral. We aim to develop an appropriate evidence base to inform policy and best practice that will direct an essentially ecological urban process to reverse these patterns.
We focus on both the built environment and the development of individuals and groups with outcomes measured by increases in individual, community, physical and economic resilience. We put people first - not technocratic convenience, architectural aesthetic or short-term gain. A Prosocial approach will deliver long-term resilience within communities; sustainable places that become self-generating.