Prosocial Place
Prosocial Place

Evidence Gathering: the Prosocial Place Programme

Prosocial Place Programme (PPP) is the research group undertaking cutting edge scientific work to support cultural change that promotes benign city environments through cooperation and knowledge exchange.


PPP is about the interaction between humans and their urban environments with a focus upon cooperation.  The research team believe that cooperation is essential for good somatic and mental health. Urban environments, and in particular cities, present a number of challenges that can make cooperation hard to establish and to maintain.

Healthy Ageing in Place Pilots Programme
Prosocial Place were engaged by Connected Places Catapult (CPC) to produce a report that helps CPC to better understand the relationship between ‘place’ and ‘healthy ageing’ through the lens of different ‘types’ of places across the UK.

In tackling this task, the team have been engaged in desk-based research, outlined in the Introduction, covering:

Conceptual Understandings and Approaches to Interventions to support healthy ageing in place
Identification of the main challenges for healthy ageing in place (n.b. scholarly review of this substantial literature is beyond the scope of this report)
Scope of existing frameworks from well-regarded organisations that address healthy ageing in place relevant to the UK context
Healthy Ageing in Place Pilots Programme[...]
PDF File [3.7 MB]
MAG - Living High Streets Craft KIt
MAG has co-designed a fresh approach to placemaking in our Living High Streets. This is not a design guide or template to rejuvenate high streets. It is a fresh approach to placemaking that challenges communities to work together through a series of questions about all aspects of their place.
The desired output from these conversations will be a codesigned Living High Streets Framework, underpinned by local knowledge, agreed priorities and means of delivery.
The emerging Living High Streets will reflect the purpose and meaning each community envisions for themselves.
MAG - Living High Streets Craft Kit_0.pd[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [2.9 MB]
The Psychological Benefits of Cooperative Placemaking
Published by Taylor & Francis - International Journal of CoCreation in Design & the Arts
ISSN: 1571-0882 (Print) 1745-3755 (Online) Journal homepage:
In a study aiming to establish the intrinsic value of involvement in a co-design, place-making workshop, we engaged participants in a vision-led development of the grounds of a run-down Grade II listed Mansion House in South Liverpool. Two groups of volunteers engaged in co-design workshop sessions that compared the intrinsic value and wellbeing benefits of shared reading to place-making. The findings suggest that the workshop activities supported changes to psychological and community wellbeing by enhancing both a sense of personal growth and a collective sense of place-related optimism.
The psychological benefits of cooperativ[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [2.1 MB]
Chapter 11 - From Lonely Cities to Prosocial Places: How Evidence-Informed Urban Design Can Reduce the Experience of Loneliness
Published by Routledge - Narratives of Loneliness: Multidisciplinary Perspectives from the 21st Century
Distinguishing between emotional and social loneliness helps unpack its complex nature and association with other responses to company, community and society. Emotional includes feelings of desolation and insecurity from having no-one to turn to, while social is characterised by a perceived lack of friends to provide a sense of belonging, companionship and community. Thinking about the role of urban design, the obvious conclusion would be that the focus should be on the social. However, our data demonstrates that an ambivalent attachment to place, a reaction most closely aligned to emotional loneliness, can itself determine a sense of belonging – a characteristic of social loneliness.
From Lonely Cities to Prosocial Places 2[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [468.7 KB]
Places Change Minds: Exploring the Psychology of Urbanicity Using a Brief Contemplation Method
Published by SAGE Open April-June 2017: 1–11 © The Author(s) 2017
A growing body of research suggests that urban environments negatively affect mental health and well-being. It is thought that some of this so-called “urbanicity effect” can be explained by the perceived quality of the living environment. The two studies reported here used online survey methods to explore changes to self-reported psychological mechanisms thought to underpin mental health and well-being. Our findings demonstrate that even brief contemplation of places change how we consider our futures and that places deemed undesirable appear to promote a threat-focused anticipatory set. Importantly, these changes were not found to be associated with perceived urbanity but rather with perceived desirability of place.
Corcoran et al. 2017 SGO707004.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [392.5 KB]
Yangzhou: World Healthy City – Contributory Article to Urban Design Journal March 2017
The International Self-Care Foundation presented its first World Healthy City Award to Yangzhou City, China, in 2016, for outstanding achievements in developing an urban living environment conducive to self-care and healthy lifestyles for its citizens. This involves delivering evidence-based self-care concepts and practices, and promoting the role of self-care in health. The award is an important achievement for Yangzhou City at a time of rapid urbanisation across the globe, especially set against a backdrop of diverse evidence increasingly telling us that cities can be bad for health and wellbeing. Prosocial Place were part of the accreditation team undertaking the assessment for the designation, looking specifically for policy implementation in health care, education and urban planning.
PROSOCIAL PLACE - Contributory article t[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [658.3 KB]

Developing Ideas



Just completed pilopt projects in Cumbria and Northern Ireland using the Healthy High Streets Crat Kit we helped author for the Department for Communities NI in 2022