Homes
are more
than

just a
shelter

Homes are more than just a shelter

Do you feel safe at home?

With many of us staying home to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our community, the impact of our home environment on us has never been more crucial. While we previously showed the impacts of the home on our physical health and our mental work capacity, there’s another aspect that needs mentioning – the emotional impact.

In recent years, the Danish concept Hygge has entered mainstream media. Commonly used to describe home cosiness, this concept was widely adopted as a way to relax and improve mental wellbeing from the comforts of our own home. However, there’s more than cosiness that helps a person feel good at home.

80% of respondents attributed the feelings of privacy, safety and refuge (haven factors) to their home.

Drawing from housing, sociology and ownership research, Professor Kearns from the University of Glasgow proposed 3 factors – haven, autonomy and status – to measure psychological benefits of a home.

Homes are more than just a shelter

In his survey of 2838 home occupiers in different regions in Scotland, the findings showed that 80% of respondents attributed the feelings of privacy, safety and refuge (haven factors) to their home. This may seem unsurprising since the traditional purpose of a home is to provide privacy from the society and shelter from the environment.

Homes are more than just a shelter

Provenance Camberwell Living Terrace

In 2002, Mark Austin, a professor of sociology at the University of Louisville, conducted a survey with 305 residents living in Louisville, Kentucky. From this research, his team concluded that the quality of housing and neighbourhood affected the residents’ satisfaction of their physical environment, which consequently affected their feelings of safety. In other words, higher quality of housing led to higher satisfaction of home and a feeling of safety. Deteriorated conditions around the neighbourhood increased the residents’ concerns about their safety.

While this perception of safety has predominantly been studied in relation to physical threats such as safety from the weather, building structural safety and crime, what about the feeling of safety posed by health threats?

higher quality of housing led to higher satisfaction of home and a feeling of safety

Xavier Bonnefoy, who worked at the European Center for Environment and Health department of the World Health Organisation, discussed this issue in an article published in 2007. In it, he writes that the lack of hygienic conditions poses some of the most relevant health threats. While unhygienic conditions do not directly harm the residents, it increases the conditions for diseases to be transmitted. In other words, the perception of unsanitary environments that surround the house can make residents feel unsafe even when they are at home. 

Homes are more than just a shelter

Since housing apartments often share amenities such as elevators and entry foyers, one of our design focuses for the Provenance was on the privacy and health safety leading up to the home. In our redesign of the entry experience, we created private entrance lobbies for limited apartments and direct elevator-to-door for selected units. In doing so, we increased the sense of privacy for each tenant from the moment they enter the apartment complex. Not only does this redesign reduce the public traffic through the shared areas, but it also offers opportunities for secured and contactless delivery drop-offs.

 

  • Transformed thinking into action

Here at Beulah, our projects are driven by investigating thinking and the pursuit for design and research innovation. Through these insights, we create transformational spaces and experience for present and future generations.

We transform this thinking into action for Provenance.

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