Changing Mindsets


We aim to combine psychological models of behaviour change with insights into dynamic relations of power so as to position health and health inequality more centrally in the mindsets of senior decision makers within urban development.

In the short term, we seek to provide both a better understanding of the power dynamics underpinning particular urban development activities, and in combination with psychological triggers, to more effectively prompt changes in decisions related to healthy urban spaces. In the long term, this intervention aims to increase the valuing of health, and improve discourse on how best to shape urban spaces, leading to pro-health and health equality behaviour in the design and delivery of urban spaces.


Working with influential individuals within the urban development system, we will co-produce a set of health messages to be delivered to industry members through a number of targeted events and activities. Before (where possible) and after each event, we will measure the impact of the message package. Our measures will determine the extent to which industry members have increased their intentions to act on health and health inequality information within their professional roles. They will also allow us to clarify preferences for change and understand views and beliefs on potential for change / reform. We will then extend our measures by returning to participants from early events so as to evaluate behavioural changes resulting from the messages. We will do this using ripple-effects mapping.

We will also combine literatures on power and psychological behaviour change to create a systems map. This map will enable a more realistic understanding of how these two factors work together in the shaping of mindsets, and the changing of priorities in decision making. It will also be used to anticipate how the changes we will attempt to trigger impact on the broader system of urban development and non-communicable disease reduction.


We intend to produce two core outputs:

  1. Map of complex interactions between power and norms influencing mindset change. We will be producing a systems diagram that shows the complex interactions between normative influences and perceptions of power on decision makers intention to act on health and health inequality information within their professional practice. This map will help us not only to understand where best to intervene to help increase the intention to act, but will help us in working with stakeholders to understand the complex processes involved in mindset change.
  2. Message package providing information on changing norms within the land control area of urban development and information relevant to a revaluing and shaping health as a more legitimate focus within land control work.
    The goal of both is to enable and encourage those within the industry to not only more highly prioritise health in decision making but also allowing for potential systemic change towards a more health aware community that not only understands the health and equality impacts of their decisions, but also allow those in systemic or positions of power to act with more intention for long term health and equality outcomes.


Dr Krista Bondy at the University of Stirling

Dr Rebecca Linnett at the University of Stirling

Dr Sophie Turnbull at the University of Bristol

Martha Jordan at the University of Bath