Understanding the impact of the residential built environment design on inhabitants’ wellbeing
ABSTRACT: An increasing body of evidence suggests that some of the contemporary forms of the physical environment have a negative influence on the wellbeing of its inhabitants. This paper presents a literature review on the impact of the built environment on the inhabitants’ wellbeing in the residential context. The paper reviews recent literature from various interconnected fields such as psychology, physiology, and sociology in the built environment context. Previous research has shown that the characteristics of the built environment can influence all aspects of human life. The effect of the built environment on the physical and psychological wellbeing is extensively investigated. However, there is limited research on the relationship between the residential built environment and social wellbeing, as measured by social integration and cohesion which suggests the need for more exploration, particularly in the context of the Middle-East. The lack of understanding results in a disconnection between the local communities’ socio-cultural needs and actual design and supply of housing. The relationship between housing and wellbeing is complex and multidimensional. Moreover, behavioural, biological, cultural, social, physical and political factors are variables that affect this relationship. While studying physical environments and users, various theories and concepts can be found such as wellbeing, quality of life, happiness, life satisfaction and sustainability. This paper, through an in depth literature review, aims to distinguish the relationships and the overlap between the concepts. A review of previous methods and indicators used to measure and evaluate wellbeing and the quality of residential built environment, organised to aid architects and planners to predict the impact of their designs on the wellbeing of users. The broader aim of this research is to identify indicators that could be used in evaluating housing typologies and neighbourhoods in Qatar. Additionally, support in understanding the impact of the design on people’s wellbeing within the case study context.
KEYWORDS: Wellbeing, Residential built environment, Indicators.