Neighbourhood design and identification of objective built environment features supportive of children’s mental wellbeing

Ozbil Torun A., Severcan Y. C., Defeyter M. A., Bingol H., Akin Z.

13th International Space Syntax Symposium, Bergen, Norway, 20 - 24 June 2022, pp.1-19

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Bergen
  • Country: Norway
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-19
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Evidence is building to show that while individual characteristics are critical in determining health status, the built environment exacerbates or mitigates health outcomes, such as physical activity levels and mental illnesses. While there is ample research highlighting the role of built environment in encouraging physical activity, there is limited evidence on the association of children’s local neighbourhoods and their mental wellbeing. This study investigates this link. A total of 163 children aged 9-12 years are recruited from four primary/secondary schools located in different neighbourhoods in Ankara, Turkey. Children’s home-environments (400-meter radial buffers) are evaluated through GIS-based objective measures of land-use, urban densities, street connectivity and neighbourhood greenness index. Children’s mental disorders and life satisfaction are evaluated through a combination of Me and My Feelings Survey and Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale. Statistical analyses show that increased street connectivity around the home, measured by local syntactic measures, as well as higher neighbourhood land-use mix, and greenness are moderately but significantly associated with increased childhood mental health. The findings of this study enrich the limited knowledgebase on the environmental attributes associated with children's mental health and can inform practitioners with evidence-base when designing neighbourhoods supportive of increased mental wellbeing.