23. City life, mental health and well-being

Josiane Tantchou; Jean-Marc Goudet;

Today >50% of the world's population lives in cities. This figure is expected to increase to 70% by 2050. Living in cities has benefits, yet it also increases exposure to risk factors originating from the urban social and physical environment. It is assumed that the latter contribute to increased stress and negative mental health outcomes that are accentuated in a changing climate. Of course, mental suffering has complex etiology and multiple causes. Yet, it has been shown it is more prevalent in urban centers and incidence have been increasing. The association between mental health and urban environments has been suspected by scholars more than half a century ago and for the past decades, research have multiplied in developing countries mainly, even more after Covid 19 pandemic. Multidisciplinary approaches are emerging. Some combine traditional practices and technologies, and others rely on sensoriality, human relationships with the landscape. However, the mechanisms underneath remain unclear as most of the studies do not explain how specific factors of urban environment combine to create protective or pathologic milieu. This undermines the translation of epidemiological knowledge into effective therapeutic and urbanistic development on the one hand. On the other hand, studies on these issues has been less prolific and less consistent in LMICs. The aim of this panel is to gather scholars working on, or interested by this issue around the world, to share theoretical, methodological insights, as well as avenues for cross-cultural, multidisciplinary and participative studies.

Contact: josiane-carine.tantchou@cnrs.fr, jeanmarcgoudet@gmail.com

Keywords: Urban STS, Infrastructure, Environmental/Multispecies Studies

Published: 04/07/2023