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Psychological Distress and Urban Dynamics

The driving forces lingering behind human behaviour are entangled in a priori psychological dynamics. Mass psychology has undeniably a role in defining behavioural attitudes towards the use of urban spaces. However, its impact is largely underestimated in the contemporary urban debate. The effects that mass psychology can provoke on human behaviour became recently evident when considering a distress situation induced by a pandemic. Pandemic scenarios are currently affecting the psychological stability of the worldwide population, consequently impacting on many aspects of everyday life and dynamics. In high-density environments already affected by critical living conditions and scarcity of suitable public spaces, psychological statuses that are already mined by those conditions are exposed to a major risk of collapsing. The urge of bridging the fields of mass psychology, urban psychology, and urban design and morphology emerges as critical for the definition of a built environment capable of supporting psychological restoration due to past-traumatic mass psychological distress. In particular, in high-density urban environments already threatened by an increasingly growing population and, reversely, by a decreasing availability of land, the understanding of available public spaces potentially suitable for fulfilling this role becomes more and more urgent. 

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Under psychological distress, urban perceptions and behavioural attitudes towards the use of urban spaces are undergoing through major transitions. The immediate effects provoked by the pandemic are an undeniable call for more attention to psychological statuses of urban dwellers especially in high-density urban environments as affecting urban dynamics and everyday life!

Papers in progress

Zordan, M.*; Tsou, J.Y., Chen, J., Sieh, L. (2024). The relevance of open public spaces and high-density urban streets under psychological distress: a comparative study among diverse stress-level groups through a decision-making perspective.

Zordan, M.*; Tsou, J.Y., Chen, J., Huang, H. (2024).Understanding the impact of psychological distress in high-density streets for the promotion of sustainable behaviours: walking as a travel habit.

Selected published papers and conferences

Zordan, M*.; Tsou, J.Y., Huang, H. Street Vibrancy and Outdoor Activities under COVID-19 Psychological Distress: Lessons from Hong Kong. Land 2023, 12, 1896.

Zordan, M.* & Tsou, J.Y. (2022). Willingness to experience urban environments, stress levels, and contagion risk perceptions before and after the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong. International Conference on Environment and Human Health: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century, Hong Kong 

Zordan, M.*, & Tsou, J.Y. (2020). Mass transitional uses of Public Open Spaces under the spread of COVID-19 and the support of virtual infrastructures. A call for future cities design and planning in Urbanism in the Mobile Internet Era: Proceedings of the 13th Conference of International Forum on Urbanism 2020. Netherlands, 13th Conference of the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU 2020), Nanjing, China, 9/10/20. 

Best Paper Award _ Category Future City and Design

Zordan, M.*, & Tsou, J.Y. (2020). Urban Transitions in Pandemic Scenarios: Insights from Hong Kong. Journal of ASIAN Behavioural Studies, vol. 5, no. 17, pp. 55-70.


Zordan, M.*, & Tsou, J.Y. (2020), Behavioural Contagion in Hong Kong Urban Space under Mass Psychological Distress. in MY Abbas, RMA El-Zeiny, MA Kamal, P Atmodiwirjo, M Bisadi, R Gy Hashim, H Zhang & CC Turkyilmaz (eds), Environment-Behaviour Proceedings Journal. Environment-Behaviour Proceedings Journal, no. 14, vol. 5, pp. 303-310, AIVCE-BS-1: AMERABRA International Virtual Conference on Environment-Behaviour Studies, 1st Series, Shah Alam, Malaysia, 24/06/20.

.. more publications here

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