Abstract for: Towards modeling health effects of urban densification

This aim of this project is to develop a method to answer the municipality’s complex question on how to make informed choices about building the highly needed dwellings, but without damaging and with possibly even improving the mental health of its residents. The continuous population growth in urban areas, in the Netherlands as well as in many other countries, makes the need to build more dwellings urgent. In the Netherlands, the aim is to build as much as possible within the urban contours (i.e. urban densification) in order to tackle this major housing task. This densification of cities in the coming years will change the urban living environment. Despite all the expected benefits of compact building within cities (for mobility, economic benefits), there are signals that densification can also pose mental health risks. Therefore, it is important for a municipal council to balance between the importance of building dwellings and the (mental) health of their inhabitants. A model is required to allow a municipal authority to make this assessment. While developing the model we were informed by environment and planning experts and public health experts and used information from a municipality's planning process.