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Housing + Health

Healthy housing means more than just a roof over one’s head. Healthy housing stands for having space at one’s disposal with adequate conditions for safety, hygiene, comfort and privacy and for adequate social ambience. It comprises physical accessibility, adequate living space for all dwellers and the option for each and every individual to be himself or herself.
 
It also means structural stability and durability as well as adequate heating, lighting and ventilation. In addition, adequate basic infrastructures, such as water supply, sanitary and waste-management facilities, are crucial. Moreover, healthy housing means security of tenure, enabling the arrangement of a flat according to one’s demands.
 
To describe housing and health interactions not only the dwelling itself, but the whole residential environment is decisive: An adequate and accessible location with regard to work and basic facilities or recreation areas in the neighborhood are important as well.
 
All these things should be available at affordable cost. However adequacy varies from country to country. Specific cultural, social, environmental and economic factors hamper the application of international standards for adequate housing. For this reason, guidelines for healthy housing mostly arise from national reports and refer to national or regional conditions.
 
Some housing risk factors to health, like chemical pollutants, noise or moulds, can be measured and assessed properly. However, soft factors such as social impact and effects on mental health caused by poor housing conditions are difficult to evaluate. Poverty and disabilities give rise to special housing risks. Some aspects are discussed in the following articles in more detail. Multiple occurence of some topics is due to the interdependency of the subjects.
 
The topics provided on our websites are:
Home Materials,  Noise, Indoor Air Quality (including radon, particulate matter, damp and mould), Urban Planning, Thermal Comfort (with energy and climate change), Accidents at Home, Housing and Age with accessibility, Housing + Mental Health and Social Inequality.