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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Developing a Citizen Social Science approach to understand urban stress and promote wellbeing in urban communities
Author(s): Pykett, Jessica
Chrisinger, Benjamin
Kyriakou, Kalliopi
Osborne, Tess
Resch, Bernd
Stathi, Afroditi
Toth, Eszter
Whittaker, Anna C
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Keywords: Geography
Science, technology and society
Social policy
Issue Date: 2020
Citation: Pykett J, Chrisinger B, Kyriakou K, Osborne T, Resch B, Stathi A, Toth E & Whittaker AC (2020) Developing a Citizen Social Science approach to understand urban stress and promote wellbeing in urban communities. Palgrave Communications, 6 (1), Art. No.: 85.
Abstract: This paper sets out the future potential and challenges for developing an interdisciplinary, mixed-method Citizen Social Science approach to researching urban emotions. It focuses on urban stress, which is increasingly noted as a global mental health challenge facing both urbanised and rapidly urbanising societies. The paper reviews the existing use of mobile psychophysiological or biosensing within urban environments—as means of ‘capturing’ the urban geographies of emotions. Methodological reflections are included on primary research using biosensing in a study of workplace and commuter stress for university employees in Birmingham (UK) and Salzburg (Austria) for illustrative purposes. In comparing perspectives on the conceptualisation and measurement of urban stress from psychology, neuroscience and urban planning, the difficulties of defining scientific constructs within Citizen Science are discussed to set out the groundwork for fostering interdisciplinary dialogue. The novel methods, geo-located sensor technologies and data-driven approaches to researching urban stress now available to researchers pose a number of ethical, political and conceptual challenges around defining and measuring emotions, stress, human behaviour and urban space. They also raise issues of rigour, participation and social scientific interpretation. Introducing methods informed by more critical Citizen Social Science perspectives can temper overly individualised forms of data collection to establish more effective ways of addressing urban stress and promoting wellbeing in urban communities.
DOI Link: 10.1057/s41599-020-0460-1
Rights: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
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