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The Relationship between Well-Being and the Built Environment

Buildings have a profound impact on our well-being. In fact, according to a study by the World Health Organization, our built environment is responsible for a huge percentage of health problems and premature deaths. But it doesn't have to be this way. We can create buildings that enhance our well-being without damaging the environment. In this blog post, we'll explore how to measure well-being, the relationship between well-being and the built environment, and how we can create sustainable, healthy buildings.

How do we measure well-being?

There are two primary ways to measure well-being: the Canadian Index of Well-being (CIW) and the Happy Planet Index (HPI). The CIW is a comprehensive measure of Canadians' quality of life that includes eight interconnected domains: living standards, health, education and skills, work and work-life balance, community vitality, democratic engagement democracy, time use, and environmental quality. The HPI measures what matters most: sustainable well-being for all. It assesses how well nations are doing at achieving long, happy, sustainable lives.

The Relationship between Well-being and the Built Environment

There is a strong relationship between well-being and the resources we use to create our built environment. For example, according to the CIW, environmental quality is a major determinant of Canadians' quality of life. Poor air quality alone is responsible for over 7% of all deaths in Canada each year. And it's not just our physical health that's affected by the built environment; our mental health is also at risk. A study by the World Health Organization found that poor housing is associated with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Creating Sustainable Buildings

The good news is that we can create buildings that are sustainable and improve our well-being. Here are a few things to consider when designing or retrofitting a building:

• Use locally sourced materials to reduce transportation emissions

• Incorporate natural light and ventilation to improve air quality

• Use sustainable building materials such as bamboo or recycled glass

• Install green roofs or living walls to purify the air and improve mental health

• Implement water-efficient fixtures to reduce water consumption

• Install solar panels or wind turbines to generate renewable energy

There is a strong relationship between well-being and the built environment. By using locally sourced materials, incorporating natural light and ventilation, using sustainable building materials, installing green roofs or living walls, implementing water-efficient fixtures, and installing solar panels or wind turbines, we can create buildings that are sustainable and improve our well-being.


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