Psychology & the City: The Hidden Dimension

The city is not a lifeless thing. People have personality, identity and, as they are congregations of people, so do cities. In a constant cycle of influencing and being influenced the city impacts upon our mind and our emotional state impacts upon the city with untold effects.

It is astonishing that psychology, the study exploring the dynamics of feeling and emotion, has not been taken sufficiently seriously as an urban discipline, not only by psychology itself but also urban decision makers, since it seeks to understand why we act the way we do.

To see the urban fabric, its dynamics and city life as empty shells devoid of human psychological content is careless. To be blind to its consequences is foolish, as the city is primarily an emotional experience with psychological effects.

Just as the body is the museum of human evolution so the psyche is the mental museum of our primeval psychological past, and we have carried anciently formed elements of it into this new urban age.

There are psychological consequences to our adaptation to ‘homo urbanis’ and the cities that will do best may be those most able to connect the ancient as well as modern parts of ourselves. Seeing the city through a psychological lens can help create programmes to bring out potential and help heal fractures, divides or lack of confidence It is extraordinary that it has not been given fuller attention in urban policy.

The book explores how various psychological disciplines can be used, how to create a more psychologically mature city and how to analyse an urban psyche. See to take the test for your city.

It is the result of two years research by Charles and Chris working with cities globally, such as: Ghent, Antwerp, Adelaide, Minneapolis, Berlin, Lisbon, Milton Keynes, Krakow, Bilbao, Oslo and Plymouth. The book comes at a moment of growing concerns about whether cities make you ill as urban populations expand.

“I wish I had written this book. Its message is overdue. Past approaches have mostly failed to produce the urban living environments we need to thrive”.
Professor Rhiannon Corcoran, Academic Director of the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy & Practice, University of Liverpool,

“This wonderful new book reaches deeply into urban history and city futures revealing the psychological underpinning of how cities emerge, adapt, and guide their futures”.
Prof Greg Clark CBE FAcSS; Chairman, The Business of Cities Limited

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