Webinar: Dog Ownership, Mental Health and City Planning/Design

20 April 2021

Thursday 6th May 10am AEST

The third webinar of the Network for Research in Built Environment and Mental Health, led by the Matilda Centre and the Henry Halloran Trust (both University of Sydney).

Dog Ownership


Time: Thursday May 6, 2021 10:00 AM

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Australia has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world, with almost half of households owning dogs. Dogs play an important role in our families and communities and are important for our mental health. If dog-friendly cities are mentally healthier cities, what can planners/policy-makers do to better support dog ownership?

In this webinar Dr Lauren Powell will describe her research on the relationship between dog ownership and mental health. Dr Jennifer Kent will then discuss the role of policy and planning in facilitating (or preventing) dog ownership.

Dr Jennifer Kent

Dr Jennifer Kent is a Senior Research Fellow in the Urbanism program at the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning. Jennifer’s research interests are at the intersections between urban planning, transport and human health.

She specialises in combining quantitative and qualitative data with understandings from policy science to trace the practical, cultural and political barriers to healthy cities. Key issues examined to date include parenting and private car use, companion animal ownership and transport, the links between health and higher density living, the interpretation of health evidence into urban planning policy, the health impact of extended commute times, and cultural and structural barriers to sustainable transport use.

Dr Lauren Powell

Dr. Lauren Powell is a postdoctoral researcher with the Shelter Medicine program at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School. She was awarded a PhD from the University of Sydney for her research into the mental health effects of dog ownership and the role of oxytocin in human-dog bonding.

Her current research sees her investigating the experience of unsuccessful animal adoptions for both adopters and animals and assessing the quality of life of cats and dogs in animal shelters.


Time: Thursday May 6, 2021 10:00 AM

Register for this webinar