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The impact of housing design on Health A L Verret, N Prince, Y Jerome .pdf


Nom original: The impact of housing design on Health _ A-L Verret, N Prince, Y Jerome.pdf
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The Impact of Housing Design on the Health
and Well-Being of Populations. A Case-Study of
Middle-Class Families in the Metropolitan
Region of Port-au-Prince, Haiti
A.-L. Verret, N. Prince, Y. Jérôme


Abstract— The effects of housing design on the health and wellbeing of populations are quite intangible. In fact, healthy housing
parameters are generally difficult to establish scientifically. It is often
unclear the direction of a cause-and-effect relationship between
health variables and housing. However, the lack of clear and definite
measurements does not entail the absence of relationship between
housing, health and well-being. Research has thus been conducted. It
has mostly aimed the physical rather than the psychological or social
well-being of a population, given the difficulties to establish causeeffect relationships because of the subjectivity of the psychological
symptoms and of the challenge in determining the influence of other
factors. That said, it a strong relationship has been exposed between
light and physiology. Both the nervous and endocrine systems,
amongst others, are affected by different wavelengths of natural light
within a building. Daylight in the workplace is indeed associated to
decreased absenteeism, errors and product defects, fatigue, eyestrain,
increased productivity and positive attitude. Similar associations can
also be made to residential housing. Lower levels of sunlight within
the home have been proven to result in impaired cognition in
depressed participants of a cross-sectional case study. Moreover,
minimum space (area and volume) has been linked to healthy housing
and quality of life, resulting in norms and regulations for such
parameters for home constructions. As a matter of fact, it estimated
that people spend the two thirds of their lives within the home and its
immediate environment. Therefore, it is possible to deduct that the
health and wellbeing of the occupants are potentially at risk in an
unhealthy housing situation. If the impact of architecture on health
and well-being is acknowledged and considered somewhat crucial in
various countries of the north and the south, this issue is barely raised
in Haiti. In fact, little importance is given to architecture for many
reasons (lack of information, lack of means, societal reflex,
poverty…). However, the middle-class is known for its residential
strategies and trajectories in search of better-quality homes and
environments. For this reason, it would be pertinent to use this group
and its strategies and trajectories to isolate the impact of housing
design on the overall health and well-being. This research aims to
analyze the impact of housing architecture on the health and wellbeing of middle-class families in the metropolitan region of Port-auA.-L Verret is with the Centre de Recherche et d’Appui aux Politiques
Urbaines (CRAPU) of the Université Quisqueya (uniQ), 218 ave. Jean-Paul II
Haut de Turgeau, Port-au-Prince, HT6110 Haiti (phone: 509-3119-4065; email: annelaurenceverret@yahoo.com).
N. Prince is with the Centre de Recherche et d’Appui aux Politiques
Urbaines (CRAPU) of the Université Quisqueya (uniQ), 218 ave. Jean-Paul II
Haut de Turgeau, Port-au-Prince, HT6110 Haiti (phone: 509-3748-2343; email: neptune.uniqcrapu@gmail.com).
Y. Jerome Author the Centre de Recherche et d’Appui aux Politiques
Urbaines (CRAPU) of the Université Quisqueya (uniQ), 218 ave. Jean-Paul II
Haut de Turgeau, Port-au-Prince, HT6110 Haiti (phone: 509-37 57 32 51 ; email: yojero25@yahoo.fr).

Prince. It is a case study which uses semi-structured interviews and
observations as research methods. Although at an early stage, this
research anticipates that homes affect their occupants both
psychologically and physiologically, and consequently public
policies and the population should take into account the architectural
design in the planning and construction of housing and furthermore
cities.

Keywords— Architectural design, health and well-being, middleclass housing, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


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