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Browsing by Author "Wahlbeck, Ella"

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  • Wahlbeck, Ella (2023)
    The thesis explores possibilities for mental health promotion in urban planning trough a case study of the community space in Lapinlahti, Helsinki. Lapinlahti is a former psychiatric hospital, and the area has in the 2010’s been developed through community efforts into a center for mental wellbeing and culture in Helsinki, a “Lapinlahti for all”. The future use of the area has been contested for the past years, with the City of Helsinki and the organizations at Lapinlahti having different views on how the area and it’s cultural and historical mental health legacy should be preserved and developed. In the discussions, statements and visions, the area’s mental health value has also been translated into urban planning, taking many forms. Mental health is a value that has traditionally not been prioritized or regarded as a value of its own in urban planning, and although the relationship between urban form and wellbeing is well known, urban (mental) health is seldom tied to cities physical- and land-use planning (Kim et al, 2022; Corburn 2004). The thesis approaches this topic by analyzing mental health as a planning objective, discussing how different understandings and approaches to mental health have affected the planning visions surrounding Lapinlahti. The thesis uses a theoretical framework of urban governance and critical discourse analysis (CDA) to seek an understanding to the different approaches to the area’s development, and identify the different understandings, connections and visions that surround Lapinlahti. The study identifies three discursive constructions of Lapinlahti: Lapinlahti as a site for cultural heritage, Lapinlahti as a place for mental health, and Lapinlahti as a site for development. The results show that all actors in their development schemes have considered the area’s mental health value from a cultural-historical perspective, viewing the area as a site for mental health history. This history is however understood and manifested in different ways for the actors, influencing different visions for how the area should be developed and what interests and/or values that should guide the development. The thesis continues with presenting three approaches for mental health promotion in urban planning, concluding that planning should be attentive of how the space is governed, the relationship between mental health and the space, and the activities and meanings embedded in space.