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Psychiatrist treats cities for ‘community trauma’

New York's High Bridge recently reopened, bringing residents of a distressed neighborhood in the Bronx access to trails and parks in Manhattan. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Does your city need a shrink?

Robert Sullivan reports for the New York Times Magazine that psychiatrists are sensitive to the effects that broken neighborhoods have on public health. They can diagnose forms of “community trauma” that city leaders and architects might overlook. To help neighborhoods heal, they prescribe fresh approaches to urban design.

This month’s reopening of a historic bridge that tethers Manhattan to the Bronx was influenced by a mental health professional, the article says.  Mindy Thompson Fullilove, a research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, pushed to connect the bridge to a trail that links struggling communities.

Pedestrians crossing High Bridge can access the Giraffe Path, which runs from Central Park to the Cloisters in northern Manhattan. It connects parts of the city grappling with problems that range from crack addiction to obesity to “disinvestment.” Fullilove tells the Times that she views cities as ecosystems that are constantly in motion and evolving. Within those ecosystems, location impacts not just physical, but also mental, health. 

Source: 
New York Times Magazine

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