The Little Book of Wellbeing



This little book tells you about research that we did as part of the Liveable Cities project, looking at wellbeing in neighbourhoods. We begin by describing wellbeing and how different people have tried measuring the concept. A research study is presented next, showing how two factors - urban density and deprivation - can affect the wellbeing of neighbourhood residents and the walkability of those areas. We end by offering some lessons for urban decision-makers, such as local authority town planners, urban designers and developers, about how to improve wellbeing in neighbourhoods and provide some resources for readers interested in learning more. Through our work, we reveal that:

The Little Book of Wellbeing


  • Wellbeing is a multi-dimensional concept with lots of layers
  • Plenty of people, cities, countries and international bodies are currently measuring wellbeing, all of whom have slightly different ways of thinking about it and using the information
  • Neighbourhoods are important hubs for enhancing wellbeing, but they can also be places where people experience illbeing because of a number of factors
  • Living in low-density, low-deprivation neighbourhoods is good for your wellbeing whereas living in high-density, low deprivation neighbourhoods is good for walkability
  • Living in low-density, high-deprivation neighbourhoods is bad for your wellbeing and bad for walkability
  • People making decisions about the design and maintenance of neighbourhoods need to think more carefully about what they’re currently doing to improve wellbeing and who they are (and are not) involving in decision-making
  • There are 10 lessons that urban decision-makers can learn when trying to design and maintain cities with wellbeing in mind
  • There are a multitude of resources about wellbeing that can be useful if you want to find out more information on the topic.


Wellbeing, walkability, density, deprivation, cities, neighbourhoods, urban environments


Boyko et al. (2017). The little book of wellbeing: A guide to wellbeing in urban environments. Lancaster, UK: Lancaster University.



The Little Book of Wellbeing: A Guide to Wellbeing in Urban Environments


Lancaster University

Publication Date

13th of December 2017


BoykoBoyko Christopher Boyko Urban Design and Behaviour, Internet of Things, Protest/Resistance, Town Planning, Urban Sustainability, Wellbeing
CoultonCoulton Claire Coulton PETRAS IoT Research Hub and Transformation North West Project Officer
CooperCooper Rachel Cooper Design Management, Design Policy, Design Thinking, Urban Design, Urban Sustainability, Socially Responsible Design, Design Against Crime, Design & Manufacture

Partners / Funders