Using design to boost welfare
Developing pleasurable spaces for oldsters
Furhapper and colleagues investigated the experience of living in newly-built timber homes. They conducted a “study [that] included a comparison of the construction types timber-frame (TF) and solid wood (SF), in addition two different ventilation types, controlled vs. window ventilation. . . The emission progression of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including formaldehyde, was recorded and compared with the subjective well-being of the residents . . . VOC-emissions were initially elevated regardless of construction and ventilation type.
2019 study focuses on privacy
Garrett and colleagues investigated links between how close people live to the coast and self-reported mental health. They determined that “Living ≤1 km from the coast was associated with better mental health for urban adults. . . . this was only among the lowest-earning households.” Also, “self-reported general health in England is higher among populations living closer to the coast, and the association is strongest amongst more deprived groups. . . . For urban adults, living ≤1 km from the coast, in comparison to >50 km, was associated with better mental health. . . .
Business location key
What’s it like to live or work in a tall building, one with 30 or more floors? Ng reviewed “recent empirical studies on occupants’ perception of tall buildings, and physiological and psychological experiences in relation to its tallness. Occupants perceive better view, less noise, and better air quality as benefits for living and working on higher floors than on lower floors. However, occupants also expressed concerns about height, difficulty with vertical transportation, strong wind, and escape in case of fire.”
Nearby greenery has again been linked to mental wellbeing. Houlden and colleagues report that their “study was designed to examine whether the amount of greenspace within a radius of individuals’ homes was associated with mental wellbeing, testing the government guideline that greenspace should be available within 300m[eters] of homes. . . . [statistical analyses] revealed positive and statistically significant associations between the amount of greenspace and indicators of life satisfaction and worth. . .
Features of neighboring homes influence what we think about our own house. Kuhlmann investigated “whether the size of one’s home relative to others in their [resident’s] neighbourhood influences their housing satisfaction. . . . [and found] evidence that relative position matters. Those living in comparatively small houses are more likely to express dissatisfaction with their home than people living in units that are large relative to other houses in their neighbourhood cluster.”
Zalejska-Jonsson investigated people’s acoustic experiences in their homes. She found that “experiencing noise from neighbours occurred relatively seldom; however, this factor has the strongest effect on satisfaction with acoustic quality.” Data were collected in multistory residential buildings.
Agnieszka Zalejska-Jonsson. 2019. “Perceived Acoustic Quality and Effect on Occupants’ Satisfaction in Green and Conventional Residential Buildings.” Buildings, vol. 9, no. 1, https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings9010024