Public health in the context of environment and housing

Joseph H.L. Chan, Chun Cheong Ma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Housing and built environment have considerable impacts on human health. People spend much of the day in indoor environment, and most of this is in the homes in developed countries. Health risks in domestic buildings are therefore of significant relevance. Given the most vulnerable groups of people (e.g. sick, poor, elderly, etc.) spending even more of their time in built environments, they are the most in need of healthy built environments. Even though a number of relevant concepts such as “adequate housing” and “sustainable buildings” have emerged in recent years, yet health consideration may not be the prime concern in construction and rehabilitation of buildings. Moreover, construction and housing standards are mainly based on engineering knowledge and aesthetics of buildings. The relationship between health problems and undesirable built environment has long been recognised by previous studies. Previous research reveals that physical and mental health problems are related to built environment, in particular, inadequate housing and dilapidated housing. Decent housing has significantly improved the health status of building occupants in developed countries, while some specific health hazards such as unintentional injuries and exposure to lead can still be found even in housing in good condition. This chapter presents a comprehensive review of contemporary literature on effects of built environment on health and provides insights for possible improvement of housing, built environment and health outcomes of building occupants in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrimary Care Revisited
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Perspectives for a New Era
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9789811525216
ISBN (Print)9789811525209
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Built environment
  • Health outcomes
  • Healthy building
  • Human health


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