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Depression is the global leading cause of disability and related economic losses. Cities are associated with increased risk for depression, but how do depression risks change between cities? Here, we develop a mathematical theory for how the built urban environment influences depression risk and predict lower depression rates in larger cities. We demonstrate that this model fits empirical data across four large-scale datasets in US cities. If our model captures some of the underlying causal mechanisms, then these results suggest that depression within cities can be understood, in part, as a collective ecological phenomenon mediated by human social networks and their relationship to the urban built environment.

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This page is a summary of: Evidence and theory for lower rates of depression in larger US urban areas, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2022472118.
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