Source: Small Island Developing States
27 November 2018: The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidelines on housing and human health, outlining minimum requirements for space, lighting, air quality, water quality, noise, accessibility and other aspects. The guidelines highlight the potential contribution of improved housing to achieving SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing) and SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities).
WHO developed the guidelines based on reviews of the scientific literature and specially commissioned studies. The guidelines are intended for policy makers who set housing-related policies and regulations, and for industry professionals such as urban planners, architects and housing developers. The guidelines affirm the need to address the social determinants of health and tackle social and health inequalities. WHO emphasized that, besides health considerations, better housing conditions can also increase quality of life and help mitigate climate change, as well-insulated housing decreases heating and cooling costs, reducing energy consumption and contributing to achievement of SDG 13 (climate action).
The 172-page publication devotes whole chapters to the topics of household crowding, low indoor temperatures, high indoor temperatures, injury hazards, and accessibility. Various indoor hazards are also addressed, such as smoke, noise, asbestos and radon, a radioactive gas that is linked with cancer.
The WHO guidelines state that these global recommendations will need to be adapted to local contexts. WHO is currently working on web-based guidance and tools for use by Member States. [WHO Press Release] [Publication: WHO Housing and Health Guidelines]