A Rationale for Design for Routine Contact with Nature in Cities of the C21st: The Physical and Mental Effects on Individuals and Society of Auto-Centric vs. 'Human-Powered' Urban Lifestyles
Throughout the world the prioritisation of the automobile has had a huge negative impact on the form of towns and cities, and hence the quality of life of the inhabitants. The author maintains that this predominance of cars causes both physical and mental fractures in our urban society. Presented as an alternative, 'human powered' urban mobility offers a wide range of benefits; from personal physical and mental well-being through to less tangible, but none-the-less vital benefits, such as to our sense of identity, community and to our deeper relationship with the natural world. It is argued that for our cities to be truly democratic and convivial places we need to work with nature to re-introduce Enchantment and Delight to the daily lives of metropolitan inhabitants. Progressive and sustainable design can assist in cultivating a renewed awareness of natural processes, forms and cycles.
Keywords: Urban Mobility, Walking, Cycling, Urban Morphology, Automobiles, Mental Health, Wellbeing, Quality of Life, Sustainable Design, Enchantment, Democracy, Natural Processes
Mr. Michael Herrmann
Senior Lecturer in Design (for Sustainability), The Leeds School of Architecture, Landscape and Design, Leeds Metropolitan University
Over the last five years i have lectured and published widely whilst working within the Design Department at Leeds Metropolitan University, developing a specialism in sustainable product design and the teaching of this vital topic.
I am currently dividing my time between teaching and my own research towards a Doctorate on the theme of Sustainable Design for the Built Environment.