Housing space and occupancy standards: developing evidence for policy from a health and wellbeing perspective in the UK context

Kearns, A. (2022) Housing space and occupancy standards: developing evidence for policy from a health and wellbeing perspective in the UK context. Building Research and Information, (doi: 10.1080/09613218.2021.2024756) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

Issues of domestic space standards and occupancy levels rarely receive much attention in debates about UK housing and planning policies. This is exemplified by examining the history of space and occupancy standards as applied in England, demonstrating that standards have been under-specified, partial in coverage, and applied inconsistently. The outcomes are seen in the production of relatively small homes, overcrowding and (perversely) extensive under-occupation, residential dissatisfaction and mobility. Evidence for the health and wellbeing impacts of space shortages highlights the consequences for infectious diseases, particularly respiratory illness, mental health and stress, and educational attainment. Moreover, the mediating and moderating roles of domestic space upon the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic show the crucial importance of space and occupancy standards for health, wellbeing and learning in a future where more time is spent at home. Areas of future research are identified which together could help address a probable underestimate of the current health sector costs of inadequate domestic space, this being an important lever for policy action. Such evidence, including crucially more from the UK itself, has an important role to play if stronger, more effective policies are to be developed and implemented in this area in future.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kearns, Professor Ade
Authors: Kearns, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Building Research and Information
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN:0961-3218
ISSN (Online):1466-4321
Published Online:24 January 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Author
First Published:First published in Building Research and Information 2022
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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