Urban design elements to promote mental wellbeing in inner-city arterial streets of the Frankfurt Rhein-Main agglomeration

A new project of the Urban Health Games research group headed by Martin Knöll (Technical University Darmstadt)

March 23, 2021 – City streets are the most widely distributed and heavily trafficked urban public spaces. However, there still exists a gap for a complete understanding of what street environmental factors contribute to mental health. A restorative environment has the potential to help people recover from direct attention fatigue, reduce stress, and boost positive emotions. Most existing studies focus on the restorative potential of the natural green environment, and only a small group of them have explored the urban grey environment such as streets. Lanqing Gu, PhD student at the Urban Health Games research group will select inner-city arterial streets in the Frankfurt Rhein-Main urban agglomeration as study objects. The aim is to investigate the correlation of macro and eye-level scale urban design elements with restorative effects.

The first part of the project will draw attention to how macro-scale urban design elements affect restorative effects in boulevards. How street network characters, land use patterns, and building density are related to users’ assessment of restorativeness will be analyzed. The second part will focus on the eye-level elements. On-site walking interview combining with a mobile eye-tracking device will be applied to gain a detailed understanding of how environmental factors during walking experience work on restorative effects.

The project is funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.