Now that most of us are working, living, exercising and doing anything and everything from home, we are experiencing the impact of the design of our living environments on our well-being, both physically and mentally more than ever. Things we overlooked in our homes, like the little balcony which we thought was a nice addition to the flat, has now become our main living space, an essential part of our well-being amidst self-isolation. But can design really make us happier and healthier? Research shows that 1 in 4 people is likely to suffer from depression each year in the UK. How is our built environment responding to the physical and mental wellbeing requirements of occupants? What do regulations say (and don't say)?
The student accommodation market in Cardiff is not unlike the ones in other cities and towns of Britain – as all universities will not provide students with housing after they finish first year,students have to turn to the private sector – be it the landlords transforming residential properties into homes of multiple occupation and renting them through student letting agencies or large, privately-owned halls. However, neither of these of these options are without faults – while HMOs disrupt and push the communities in areas close to universities to the suburbs, private halls are often financially out of most students’ reach as they are marketed as as luxury accommodations and their architecture is often out of context with both its immediate and wider surroundings.