Dubbed “Toxic Assets” by CABE, Britain’s poorly performing urban places and communities continue to absorb much of our GDP, where land, places and people are exploited and treated like commodities. In his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, Jarred Diamond discusses the dangers of continued exploitation and the outcomes for societies that could not change their behaviour patterns: certain extinction.
With expenditure outstripping income, we have entered a long period of economic depression with high levels of ‘welfare’ costs signifying a nation under stress. Whilst the government’s economic austerity measures may rebalance the budget on paper, their short-term nature does not address the fundamental health and wellbeing issues that impact individuals, communities and the wider stability of the nation.
The Marmot Review emphasises the impact of urban quality on matters of equity, health and wellbeing giving urban designers an important role to play, but not through the technocratic fixes that they are typically trained to deliver. So, where do we start when thinking about the relationship between place-making, health and wellbeing?
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Professor Rhiannon Corcoran