Urban built environments have a direct influence in the quality of life of people. It is possible to define the concept of quality of life as the experience that each person has at a certain point of time and in a certain context.
More and more people live in urban environments. According to a UN report published in 2011, it is estimated that in 2050 the population living in urban areas will exceed that of rural areas, the first being 67.7%. It is therefore of great significance the analysis of the quality of life in urban environments in order to obtain criteria for adaptation and improvement.
When analysing the quality of life, it is important to define the objective and subjective aspects. As objective aspects we can define physical criteria such as: air quality, pollution, noise, temperature, etc. However in this issue, subjectivity plays a major role and it is therefore necessary to define what we call the psychological aspects: sensations, experiences, influence on habits, etc. both, in outdoor environments and inside the buildings (homes, offices, public buildings, etc.).
Many studies have demonstrated that green areas have an impact on the quality of life of people.
According to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, October 2009, people living close to green spaces may suffer less health problems, specially depression and anxiety, than those living in areas surrounded by concrete, as green areas reduce atmospheric and acoustic pollution, etc.
In addition, well designed urban environments enhance sport. According to another study, green areas help to prevent childhood obesity because they promote physical activity.
The same happens inside the building. The spaces should be designed and oriented to promote the realization of different activities, whether domestic, leisure or work. In order to do so, one option is to act on the modification of habits or use behaviour, as a way to advance in sustainability or comfort improvement, with no need to modify products or environments.
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