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Mental Health and Wellbeing in Post-Pandemic Places

Prof. Sarah Niblock, Chief Executive of The UK Council for Psychotherapy.

Relationships are vital — without human connection we simply cannot survive.

You could be forgiven for thinking that living in cities and towns would insulate our mental wellbeing but, sadly, the opposite is true.

My organisation, representing nearly 10,500 psychotherapists and trainees, is especially concerned for the health of city dwellers in the midst of COVID-19. One of the most paradoxical issues created by the pandemic is the tension between society’s call for ‘social distancing’ and the critical need for connectedness with others.

The novel coronavirus has, at the time of writing, passed the six months mark in the UK…


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In continuation with the Connected Places Catapult 2020 housing program priorities, the following blog explores resilient strategies to direct equitable investment to shift the UK’s future homes evolution. Annalise Johns, Housing Lead for the Connected Places Catapult begins the discussion through this thoughtful piece on building healthy homes for the future.

Harvard Professor Dani Rodrik’s latest blog Democratizing Innovation, speaks to government’s reticence to provide a strategic direction for technological change. He states “as a society, we should care not just about how much innovation takes place, but also about the types of new technologies that are developed. We ought to ensure we are investing in technologies that are safe, environmentally sound, empower rather than simply replace human labour, and are consistent with democratic values and human rights.

The Financial Times Weekend Magazine issue June 13 2020 noted the 2010–19 decade to be the lowest in the UK’s history of productivity…


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Photo by Ramiz Dedaković on Unsplash

For the past year, our digital planning team has been researching how best to visualise central government data. The research was initiated by MHCLG’s data release around local plans adoption date in England, and looked into both the likelihood of people knowing the data existed and, even if they did, how comprehensible that data might be, especially to those without technical expertise.


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In this article, Connected Places Catapult’s Head of Academic Engagement, Will Pearson, considers the persistence of memory as being one of the key qualities of staying connected in the face of adversity, and what this might tell us about the economic recovery.

The Greek dramatist Aeschylus (525 B.C.-456 B.C.) declared, ‘”Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.” This is less a reference to every memory being something you will treasure, more a reminder that memories can accrete, stacking up wealth that we come to recognise as wisdom. This is a concept touched on by Aeschylus over the entirety of his creative output: where does wisdom come from, and why does it matter?

A simple answer is that it keeps us bound together. We codify it in our shared civic institutions, we marvel at it in our creative industries, and as…


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In continuation with the Connected Places Catapult 2020 housing program priorities, the following blog explores how retrofitting our homes using a circular economy lens can enable a clean bill of health for occupants. Annalise Johns, Housing Lead for the Connected Places Catapult begins the discussion through this thoughtful piece on building healthy homes for the future.

As the government’s dramatic building reforms go to print, proposals for speeding up the delivery of new homes is once again igniting a flurry of discussion. Meanwhile, the condition of the UK’s existing homes and the need to retrofit all 29 million to be fit for the future, remains unresolved.

The UKs housing stock is the oldest in Europe and common problems among properties include; mould, extreme temperatures, pests, noise and overcrowding. In addition, this housing stock is responsible for 14% of the UK’s annual carbon emissions (not including electricity consumption in homes — currently 6% of UK emissions). Luckily…


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By Geofrey Stevens, Urban Technology Team Lead and Gavin Summerson, City Standards Team Lead

As we start to carefully engage with the outside again and the public realm under the ‘new normal’, this provides us with a time to consider how we might reimagine our streets, such as making better use of public spaces for active travel and the benefits this could have.

It is also a good time to consider what role we want technology to play in our streets as they become increasingly digital. There are more and more devices collecting data, opening up new opportunities for the public and private sector. With the right products and services, the digital public realm…


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By Dr Amy Hochadel

The global COVID pandemic has changed everything about how cities operate in ways not previously thought possible.

Two key themes have strongly pervaded the learnings around smart and resilient cities as we begin to analyse the short-term impact in city systems and services — Agility and Digitalisation. In addition, one big opportunity has presented itself around our shared global goal and responsibility towards achieving Net Zero.

The early lessons learned from COVID and the opportunity before us can help inform smart and resilient cities — two issue areas that must now be addressed hand-in-hand if we hope to have both economically successful and healthy cities moving forward.

Agile Cities

Inevitably we have seen some organisations, both in the private…


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In continuation with the Connected Places Catapult 2020 housing program priorities, the following blog explores how the localism is becoming a driving force in UK’s future homes evolution. Annalise Johns, Housing Lead for the Connected Places Catapult begins this discussion through this thoughtful piece on building healthy homes for the future.

The speed of response in the past four months has been remarkable and specifically the normalisation shift into a pandemic mode of conduct. Equally remarkable, is the agile business model displayed by local businesses who have maintained trading and the rise of local voluntary community service networks established literally overnight. Clearly globalisation has a role to play going forward however, the recent fervour around localism bodes well with the undertow of social-value percolating in economic and built environment circles.

The response rate, globally, is good news for climate change and timely. “In her keynote address, UN-Habitat executive director Maimunah Mohd…


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Photo by Jurriaan Snikkers on Unsplash

Jonathan Flowers, Associate Director at Connected Places Catapult reflects on the COVID-19 crisis and the potential long-term effects on places, housing, neighbourhoods and cities.

“There are places I’ll remember all my life, though some have changed — some forever, not for better. Some have gone, and some remain. All these places had their moments…”

- Lennon and McCartney, “In My Life”, 1965

A Place to Call Home

Assuming you are lucky enough to have a choice, what will you think about next time you move house? I suspect that for you a key question in future will always be ‘what would it be like to be locked-down in this home’?


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Critical Infrastructure in the age of COVID-19

In this this chapter of our Innovation Brief on post-pandemic places we look at how COVID-19 has impacted the domain of Critical Infrastructure and what new opportunities have emerged or been accelerated. In particular, we focus on the underlying utilities and services which underpin a place — water, waste, power, and digital connectivity.

Disaster movie representations of pandemics often feature catastrophic breakdowns of critical infrastructure as high infection rates and preventative quarantine measures trigger systemic collapse. It has been striking how resilient systems have been in the context of the current crisis. The lights have remained on. Our garbage has…

Connected Places Catapult

Connected Places Catapult is the UK Government backed centre of excellence for innovation in mobility and the built environment.

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