The ecology and inter-relationship between housing and health outcomes

TitleThe ecology and inter-relationship between housing and health outcomes
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsGarner, G. Owen
Conference NameInternational Conference on Infrastructure Development and the Environment
Date Published06/2006
Conference LocationAbuja, Nigeria, Africa
KeywordsHealth, house design, housing, infrastructure, property economics, sustainability, tenure, town planning

Living conditions are widely acknowledged as a major contributor to the health and well being of particular population groups, with strong relationships existing between environment and human physical condition. The evidence suggests poor health is directly linked to poor housing and housing infrastructure. People with unmet housing needs tend to be socio-economically disadvantaged, experience higher death rates, poor health, and are more likely to have serious chronic illnesses. It therefore follows that the ecological aspect - which includes the environment and community in which one lives - is a major driver in public health, and has even been used as a primary measurement tool in determining the extent of human happiness, i.e. quality of life. The ecological perspective also gives rise to a growing emergence of the importance of the modern "interdisciplinary approach" underpinning trans-disciplinary research and professional practice. This is an integrated model that combines biological, cultural, economic, political, psychological and social factors. By default, it cuts across a number of disciplines including property economics, town planning, engineering and medicine. Whilst much of the research conducted in this area has found statistical associations existing between housing aspects (tenure, dwelling quality and type, home and location) and health outcomes, there has been little investigation into determining how the various aspects relate to one another for particular population groups. Further, commonalities that may exist between both indigenous and non-indigenous communities have implications for improved planning especially in the area of public housing policy. Endeavouring to place the available research specifically in an Australian context, this paper provides an in depth commentary on the literature and in particular the key health issues related to sustainable housing models. More importantly, it enables a comparison and determination of the real drivers and relationships that exist between selected sectors of the population.

Refereed DesignationRefereed