Highlight Events

Urban Design and Mental Health in Hong Kong

Urban Design and Mental Health in Hong Kong

Date: November 15, 2017

Time: 1800 - 2000

Venue: Asia Global Institute, MB 328, 3/F Main Building, HKU

If Hong Kong is to achieve its aspirations of being a liveable, sustainable global city, one essential component is a healthy, thriving population – and architects, planners, and other citymakers play an important role. Major cities are increasingly thinking about not just how to provide healthcare, but how to design better health into cities. An emerging target with the potential for major population impact is mental health.

Research tells us that city life increases our risk of depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenia. Cities can make us feel happy, sad, stressed, anxious, well and ill. Every week over 13% of Hong Kongers meet the criteria for a common mental disorder. Young people, the ageing population, workers, and others are all affected by mental health problems that affect their enjoyment of life, their relationships, their education, employment, and the economy. In fact, the OECD assesses that mental illness costs countries 4% of GDP. So how can we build better mental health into our cities?

Join Layla McCay, Director of the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health (UD/MH) and AsiaGlobal Fellow, and Asia Global Institute for an evening of multi-disciplinary presentations:

Learn about cutting edge global trends and innovation in planning and design for population mental health and wellbeing.

See new research on how Hong Kong’s planning and design impacts population mental health – and how to achieve more.

Meet future collaborators.

Explore the Main Building, the oldest structure on the HKU Main Campus. This Edwardian Baroque-style building was designed by Alfred Bryer of Leigh & Orange and was constructed between 1910 and 1912. In 1984, the building was declared a monument by the Hong Kong Government.



LAYLA MCCAY, UD/MH Director, discusses how urban design is linked to mental health.
PAUL ZIMMERMAN, Designing Hong Kong CEO and Pokfulam District Councilor, highlights the isolation and marginalisation of people with wheels (wheelchairs, children's buggies, suitcases, or delivery mechanisms) in the city - and introduced the new Walking with Wheels initiative to address this.
LAYLA MCCAY, UD/MH Director, discusses Hong Kong's urban design successes challenges and opportunities mental health in Hong Kong.
IAN RALPH is Associate Director of Lead8 and a chartered planner and urban designer with experience in masterplanning, urban design and transport projects. He gives an overview of happiness in Hong Kong - in terms of urban design, what does happiness look like? And what does that mean for Hong Kong?
KEVIN LAU, environmental scientist and urban climatologist from the Institute of Future Cities and CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He discusses how the build environment affects mental health, with a special focus on local research on green places and older people's mental health.
PAUL YIP is Director of the HKJC Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention at The University of Hong Kong. He talks about the relationship between the built environment and suicide in Hong Kong, with some interesting mapping.
LARISSA LAI is an Associate with the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health. She is originally from Hong Kong, though now based in New York City. She is a social worker and psychotherapist and is undertaking a Masters degree in City and Regional Planning at Pratt Institute. She talks about innovative housing solutions for mental health.
DENSITY 2030  - a short film premiere of a short film by HK Urban Lab at Hong Kong University about the potential impact of increasing density on mental health and the focus of their research.