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Insights How Hong Kong is using urban design to promote good mental health

Having positive mental health is essential to our overall well-being. It’s as important as physical health and several factors that contribute to the way people feel, including the environment. Studies have shown that connecting with nature can be a great way to improve well-being. This means it’s all the more important to ensure cities have more green spaces. In Hong Kong, mental health has become a priority as a result of the political fallout surrounding the city’s extradition bill. As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, architects and construction managers are tasked with finding solutions that will ensure liveability for current residents and future generations.

Within the AtkinsRéalis Group, we believe in the importance of promoting wellbeing and mental health. We’re a global procurement, construction, and engineering company, and our three main brands Atkins, Faithful+Gould and Acuity deliver first class projects and services not just for clients, but for the greater good of societies too. We understand the link between architecture, the environment and wellbeing and we know that in the current climate, there is a core focus in Hong Kong to build structures that are sustainable and deliver a positive mental impact. So, how is Hong Kong using urban design to promote mental health?

Urban design for mental health

One of the main features of urban planning and design that impacts people’s mental health is the feeling of insecurity in everyday life. For example, crowded streets, poorly designed roads, and lack of street lighting can contribute to more stress and negatively impact mental health. This also includes the cost and availability of public housing, which is a long-standing challenge in Hong Kong. Many people living in Hong Kong are waiting for public housing for extended periods. According to Urban Design and Mental Health, it could take between 10 and 20 years to reduce the queue time.

There are ongoing projects that could potentially improve mental health for residents. For example, Hong Kong plans to build 10,000 public houses on Fanling Golf Course to tackle its growing housing stock and create more space. With the majority of people in Hong Kong living in tower blocks, it’s important to pave the way for a sustainable future and good mental health, and sustainable construction with green building is a viable option. Enhancing the air quality and adopting green practices will also help to achieve this, and according to the BBC, Hong Kong is working toward creating more sustainable high-rise buildings, as the city aims to reach its target of Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Building green spaces

In many cities, the lack of green spaces has been known to have an impact on mental health. Research has found access to nature has several benefits, including reduced stress and improved sleep and happiness – and a greater sense of meaning and purpose in life. The Hong Kong government has outlined objectives to improve the quality of the city’s living environment through urban planning and public works. Some of the urban planning includes carrying out planting works in urban areas, as well as increasing the amount of planting along roadsides.

The use of green spaces can encourage residents to build stronger social connections and a sense of community, both of which are incredibly important for mental health. One of the most prominent low-carbon, green buildingsin China is TEDA H2 Building, which has been accredited with all four green certifications. It’s an exemplary green building and one of the many inspiring projects that could be implemented in Hong Kong to improve mental health.

Job opportunities in Hong Kong

As Hong Kong continue to expand and invest in urban planning, engineering and technical roles will continue to be in high demand in the city. AtkinsRéalis has an excellent reputation in Hong Kong and we have worked on a range of projects over the years – and we partner with professionals at all levels of experience.

How AtkinsRéalis can help you

At AtkinsRéalis , with our engineering Net Zero strategy, we’re committed to delivering sustainable results to our clients and candidates. We partner with the top engineering and architectural businesses globally. We have an excellent track record of recruiting the best talent into a variety of roles, including civil engineer jobs, architecture jobs and mechanical engineering jobs. Our visionof connecting people, data and technology are what drives us and due to our expertise and experience, we can support you at any stage of your project.

We’re always looking to partner with the best talent around the globe, so contact us today for more information. Take a look at our architecture jobs in Hong Kong and sign up for our job alerts.