The impact of the built environment on loneliness: A systematic review and narrative synthesis

Marlee Bower, Jennifer Kent*, Roger Patulny, Olivia Green, Laura McGrath, Lily Teesson, Tara Jamalishahni, Hannah Sandison, Emily Rugel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Loneliness is a pressing public health issue. Although quintessentially individual, it is shaped by wider environmental, cultural, socio-economic, and political circumstances. Using a systematic review methodology, this paper draws on interdisciplinary research to conceptualise the relationship between the built environment and loneliness. We present a narrative synthesis of 57 relevant studies to characterise the body of evidence and highlight specific built-environment elements. Our findings demonstrate the need for further conceptual and empirical explorations of the multifaceted ways in which built environments can prevent loneliness, supporting calls for investment into this public-health approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102962
Number of pages15
JournalHealth and Place
Early online date7 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • Systematic review
  • Built environment
  • Housing
  • Neighbourhood design
  • Greenspace
  • Loneliness


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