Maddy Silberger-Franek MFA Collaborative Design Thesis 2022

Public Spaces for Mental Health: Tools for acknowledging mental health through design

What would it look like for design professionals working in the public built environment to consider mental health on a deeper, more personal level? Public Spaces for Mental Health examines the intersection between the public built environment, participatory design and the diverse spatial experiences of people with mental health challenges. Urban environments are particularly detrimental to mental health, as we see substantially increased rates of mental illness in those residing in cities. If not addressed, disparities in urban mental health will only grow as massive populations continue to migrate to cities. With no strategies, guidelines or structures in place to address mental health in the public built environment, people with mental health challenges remain consistently underserved. This project is exploring how to make the experience of mental health challenges visible in the design process of public space. It addresses this through the creation of a set of tools that advocate for and aid in a process of collaboration between design professionals (architects, landscape architects and planners) and people experiencing mental health challenges.

This thesis is open access by request of the author.

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