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Can neuroscience help build better cities?

Its playbook presents compelling evidence on the public health impacts of environmental factors such as air quality

The playbook draws on neuroscience to help create the cities of the future
The playbook draws on neuroscience to help create the cities of the future

Future Cities Catapult, whose mission it is to advance urban innovation in the UK to make cities better, has launched a framework which will enable commercial and public sector organisations to use research from the field of neuroscience to develop innovative solutions to urban challenges. It is hoped they will boost productivity, wellbeing and social inclusion.


The playbook translates and communicates the latest academic thinking into tools, methodologies and strategies for businesses and organisations – big and small – to adopt neuroscience research into their work.


“It is well understood that the environment in which we live, work or learn affects our well-being and productivity,” said Sam Markey of Future Cities Catapult. “Now, through neuroscience, we are able to gain an even richer understanding.”


The playbook presents powerful evidence on the public health impacts of environmental factors, such as air quality, that gives planners, officers and elected members new tools to make difficult decisions and choices and to demand different behaviours from suppliers.


The playbook will support efforts to tackle the expensive impacts of social isolation and exclusion through the better design of public space. Tools are provided to help attract and retain highly mobile workers to local economies by providing high quality working environments and public space.


Sam Markey hopes the playbook will help create cities of the future. “For example, with more navigable public spaces fit for an ageing society and residents with dementia. Similarly, redesigning local high streets incorporating neuroscience insights to reduce stress factors could promote enjoyment and encourage repeat business.”


The full report can be downloaded here.


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