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

Mr. Michael Herrmann
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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
Stream: Cultural Sustainability, Social Sustainability
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Rationale for Design for Routine Contact with Nature in Cities of the C21st, A

Mr. Michael Herrmann

Senior Lecturer in Design (for Sustainability), The Leeds School of Architecture, Landscape and Design, Leeds Metropolitan University

Originally trained as a landscape architect, i have had wide ranging, international work experience in the fields of urban regeneration and ecological landscape design. I contributed a chapter to the UK's first publication on Sustainable Landscape Architecture (Herrmann, M., Millard, A., & Royffe, 2000).

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.

Ref: S06P0153