NHS Health Scotland
Outcome Indicators


6.3 Improved planning and design of the built environment and regeneration initiatives may contribute to increased levels of actual and perceived access to amenities, reduced street level incivilities (e.g. litter, dog fouling, graffiti) and increased access to greenspace. This, in turn, will contribute to increased satisfaction with the environment, thus improving mental health outcomes


There is review level evidence that poor quality neighbourhood environments, street incivilities and noise are associated with poor mental health and fear.[1] Survey data in Scotland has shown that the way people perceive the quality of their environment is associated with mental health outcomes. People living in neighbourhoods with higher levels of street incivilities and absence of ‘goods’ such as greenspace, amenities for children and escape facilities were more likely to report anxiety and depression than those with fewer environmental concerns.[2]

It is suggested here that neighbourhood planning and design initiatives and regeneration projects which improve access to goods and services are likely to have an impact on mental health outcomes. There is some evidence to suggest that enhancing one’s neighbourhood and moving to low poverty neighbourhoods can contribute to improved mental health outcomes.[1]S The impact of urban regeneration on health, socioeconomic status and inequalities, however, remains uncertain.3 Ongoing research as part of the GoWell Project in Glasgow will evaluate the impact on regeneration on mental health.


  1. Cooper, R, Boyko, D & Codinhoto, R (2008). State-of Science Review: SR- DR2: The effect of the physical environment on mental wellbeing. The Government Office for Science: London..

  2. Parkinson J (2007). Establishing a core set of national, sustainable mental health indicators for adults in Scotland: Final report. NHS Health Scotland: Glasgow.

  3. Thompson, Atkinson, Petticrew & Kearns (2006). Do urban regeneration programmes improve health and reduce health inequalities? A synthesis of the evidence from UK policy and practice (1980–2004). Journal of epidemiology and community health 60:108-115.