Designing the Compassionate City outlines an approach to urban design that is centred on an explicit recognition of the inherent dignity of all people. It suggests that whether we thrive or decline—as individuals or as a community—is dependent on our ability to fulfil the full spectrum of our needs. This book considers how our surroundings help or hinder us from meeting these needs by influencing both what we can do and what we want to do; either inspiring us to lead healthy, fulfilled lives or consigning us to diminished lives tainted by ill health and unfulfilled potential.

Designing the Compassionate City looks at how those who participate in designing towns and cities can collaborate with those who live in them to create places that help people to accumulate the life lessons, experiences and achievements, as well as forge the connections to meet their needs, to thrive and to fulfil their potential. The book explores a number of inspiring case studies that have sought to meet this challenge and examines what has worked and what hasn’t. From this, some conclusions are drawn about how we can all participate in creating places that leave a lasting legacy of empowerment and commitment to nurturing one another. It is essential reading for students and practitioners designing happier, healthier places.

chapter 1|16 pages


chapter 2|14 pages

Human Needs

chapter 5|8 pages

Living in the Compassionate City

chapter 6|8 pages

Play Quarters, London

Breaking down the barriers to playing out on the streets of London

chapter 7|5 pages

Benches Collective, Various Locations in The Netherlands and Overseas

Cultivating street life

chapter 8|8 pages

Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, London

Protecting and enhancing accessible wilderness

chapter 9|5 pages

De Ceuvel, Amsterdam

Inspiring waterside rehabilitation

chapter 10|6 pages

Woonerven, The Netherlands and Overseas

Hardwiring streets to be shared

chapter 11|7 pages

Christie Walk, Adelaide

Designing to inspire, community-led urban infill residential development

chapter 12|13 pages

The Secular Pilgrimage and South Melbourne Commons, Melbourne

Recognizing and respecting the many layers of an inner-urban, gentrifying community

chapter 13|7 pages

Stewartstown Road Centre, Belfast

Softening the barriers between communities

chapter 14|6 pages

UN Habitat Placemaking Projects in West Bank Villages, Palestine

Self-determination 101

chapter 16|16 pages

Designing the Compassionate City

chapter 18|8 pages

Applying Compassionate City Principles

chapter 19|2 pages