Bottom Up Urbanism – Tackling wellbeing in the built environment through citizen participation and leadership

05/07/2022 11:00 am to 05/07/2022 12:30 pm

Event Details

** This event has now passed**

Bottom up urbanism’ can be described as DIY, “tactical, pop-up, guerrilla or emergent urbanism” (Talen, 2017; Udayasuriyan, 2016). It is often used as an umbrella term to describe an approach to improving the urban environment which is devoid of state or corporate leadership. It is an approach that has emerged through civic action and the creative practice of communities and individuals who, quite simply, want to make better places (Finn, 2014).

“From a broader perspective, it is possible to view DIY urbanism as the latest chapter in a long-standing interest in making cities more humane, authentic, and livable through the actions of individuals and small groups rather than the actions of governments or corporations.” (pg.138; Talen, 2017)

This webinar explored some of the creative and community-driven approaches to creating better places and spaces that promote wellbeing.


If you’d like more information or would like to chat about the Healthy Happy Places programme we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Rachel Turnbull [email protected]

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Design Trust for Public Space, New York – Matthew Clarke, Executive Director, Design Trust for Public Space

Matthew Clarke is the Executive Director of the Design Trust for Public Space, where he advocates for the power of public space to build vibrant, equitable communities. As an architect, planner, and writer, he has advanced complex architectural and urban design projects; developed public-space policies; and developed national partnerships and initiatives. Prior to leading the Design Trust, Matthew was that National Director of Creative Placemaking at The Trust for Public Land, where he was the author of The Field Guide for Creative Placemaking and Parks. He has also held positions at SHoP Architects, NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs, and LTL Architects. He was a German Marshall Fund Urban Policy Fellow, a member of Next City’s Urban Vanguard, and winner of the international KPF Prize. Matthew serves as a Trustee of Bennington College and as Vice-President of the Lucille Lortel Foundation. He studied at Princeton University and the University of Kentucky

Prosocial Place, UK and University of Liverpool – Prof. Rhiannon Corcoran, Professor of Psychology & Public Mental Health

Prosocial Place are a group of award winning urban designers and social scientists concerned with the negative effects of urban living and the unacceptable and costly impact this can have on the mental health and wellbeing of all citizens. We put people first – not technocratic convenience, architectural aesthetic or short-term gain.

Prof. Rhiannon Corcoran studied the socio-cognitive, affective and societal mechanisms underlying mental health and wellbeing using converging methods. She adopted transdiagnostic, dimensional symptom -based approaches to her research into social cognition, decision-making and reasoning while exploring the interaction of these with the wider determinants of mental health and wellbeing. She is particularly interested in the interaction between people’s mental health and wellbeing and their living environment and communities. Prof. Corcoran directs the Prosocial Place Programme, a multidisciplinary knowledge exchange and action research initiative that combines knowledge bases of health and wellbeing and urban design/ planning. She led the Community Wellbeing Evidence Programme for the UK’s What Works Centre for Wellbeing.

Midsteeple Quarter, Dumfries – John Dowson, Board member, MSQ

Midsteeple Quarter is a Community Benefit Society set up and run by the people of Dumfries. Our aim is to help shape a new future for our town centre; one that responds to the needs of our community and is run for their benefit. Our core principle is that local people have innovative solutions for our town and that a significant local stake in the future of the town through community ownership and control is the best route towards a sustainable prosperity that is shared fairly amongst everyone.

Watch the May 2022 event – Dementia Friendly Environments



Watch the April 2022 event: NeurodiverCity


Watch the February 2022 event: Biophilic Design


Watch the December 2021 event: Healing Environments



The Healthy Happy Places programme is funded by the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) and the Integrated Care System for the North East and North Cumbria (ICS NENC) to develop a multi-sector approach for supporting and creating mental health and wellbeing through the built environment.