Mend Research Projects

Psychotherapy for Places: Mend is developing a new approach to appraising places using psychogeography, and cognitive psychology techniques. The research focusses on the role of place attachment and emotional responses to urban space in understanding why some places are able to withstand or embrace change more than others. We develop very strong emotional attachments to places and project meanings, values and character traits to them as if they are a character or person.

Our approach recognises that places have personality that are developed by the informal, hidden and everyday cultures and behaviours that go on in our spaces that do not recognise formal boundaries or uses that are given to them. Over time the behaviours, activities, stories, experiences and meanings that are attributed to a space craft a “sense of place” that is unique and a result of the people and relationships that exist there in real everyday life. This can be very easily destroyed and very difficult to create artificially. This has implications in the way new places are designed and delivered if they are to be attractive over time.

Behavioural Planning: Mend is developing an approach to planning and consultation that is aligned towards behavioural economics. The act of planning and development is divorced from the act of living and experiencing urban space. Planning is a form of version control – for a single view of the city and what or who it is for.

Rather than seeing planning as simply the response and outcome of political and economic trade-offs Mend sees planning as a mechanism for making real the everyday networks flows, transactions, behaviours, traditions, realities and conflicts of social capital. Place, cities and urban space are social manifestations as well as spatial ones. The future is social and collaborative. Mend is looking at what are the spatial implications of a move towards the social production of space and how planning needs to respond.

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