Mental Health and the City
Sociological writings have long recognized the link between urbanization and mental health. Simmel noticed that the “profusion of sensory stimuli” such as sights, sounds, smells, and interferences in the city made its residents aloof. Wirth argued that the breakup of social bonds in the city led to personal disorganization, mental breakdown, and suicide. While social scientists are still puzzled by the causes of mental illness in the city, different and sometimes competing explanations focusing on social capital, isolation, collective efficacy, neighbourhood disorder/disadvantage, senses of community, place identity/attachment, built environment and public space are proposed to address this puzzle.
Urbanization is a key driving force shaping the world in the 21st century. In the year 2007, more than half of the world’s population live in cities for the first time in human history. Meanwhile, the global burden of mental illness has been identified as a critical issue that calls for scholarly investigation from different perspectives. To combat the increasing prevalence of mental illness in different urban contexts. This session welcomes papers that explore the socio-spatial origins of mental health from relational, environmental or spatial perspectives. In particular, we welcome contributions on any of the following themes:
1) Social capital, urban neighbourhoods, and mental health
2) Urban landscape, built environment and mental health
3) The urban geography of mental illness
4) Mental health of rural-urban migrants