Population Density and Urban Design Features' Relationship to Mental Health

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Park, Chulhong
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There are many benefits to cities that are densely developed like Seoul. These benefits include accessibility to different regions via public transit and energy efficiency which diminishes public expenses. Ultimately, the many different benefits of densely developed cities come to one conclusion, which is efficiency in utilizing natural resources. The earliest form of cities started from people living close to each other and after sanitary reform and industrialization, people started to move to suburbs where it caused sprawl. Now, the trend has shifted toward dense developments like a cycle between density and sprawl. My impression from this comparative experience between two cities is that people are not knowingly forced to live in denser cities because of this efficiency in utilizing natural resources and trading off the convenience and accessibility from living in dense cities with their own psychological stress. Therefore, this study believes that dense development is not the solution to problems or negative externalities caused by sprawled development. From this option paper, I will explore the possible relationship between density and mental health. Furthermore, I will explore the possible urban forms that can be implemented in dense cities that can help relieve stress, since it is indisputable that there are benefits of dense cities over sprawled ones that cannot be neglected. I will be exploring the possibility of a relationship between density and stress.
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Applied Research Paper
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