Mental Health Infrastructure by Spectrum: Neighborhood strategies for Taipei City Psychiatric Care

Victoria Yu

Civic Futures


Bryan Boyer


Studying the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) reveals a constantly shifting view, where once commonly accepted mental disorders were eventually better understood from a new perspective with the benefit of time. If the past is any indicator, our current picture of the mind and its illnesses will also become obsolete. DSM-V and World Health Organization are challenging existing perceptions of mental illness and inviting us to see psychological disturbance as a part of daily life that everyone will experience to some degree in the course of their life. According to WHO, today 1 in 4 people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.

As our perception of the boundary between mental health and illness is dissolving across time, this challenges us to imagine a new healthcare infrastructure that is closer to home and available to all people, not just those who have been clinically diagnosed and are seeking help within the walls of a mental health facility.

This project aims to weave mental health into the fabric of neighborhoods by introducing acupunctural elements: social loner observatories, community gardens, respite booths, and pocket park pavilions. Starting from an assumption that autonomous vehicles will release a portion of the current streetscape back to human use,  the strategies proposed result in a spectrum of sociality, privacy, and engagement that is in contrast to today’s black-and-white cityscape of spaces for the sane and the insane. People with varying degrees of depression or anxiety will therefore be able to enjoy public spaces with the corresponding degree of social support and a sense of safety.