A Framework for Well-Being in Interiors

A Framework for Well-Being in Interiors

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4231-6.ch005
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This chapter aims to propose an environmental design framework in order to contribute to sustainability with well-being criteria focusing on human factors. Designers need to handle the issue of well-being with a methodological approach, as it is very difficult to achieve with an intuitive attitude. There are several requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to create the environment that can promote user well-being. The framework proposal, consisting of contextual, functional, psychological, social, ergonomic, aesthetic, and sensory requirements as basic design criteria, aims to support both theoretical and practical activities regarding well-being in all living environments, as a crucial component of sustainability. In this sense, this chapter discusses all the components of the well-being framework and evaluates the effect of cultural differences on the hierarchy of these requirements.
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While considering major factors that contribute to well-being, it is important to differentiate those that can be controlled. Among controllable factors, the natural and built environment must be considered as a very important issue strongly connected to positive cognitive, behavioural, and goal-based activities. Therefore, space can be regarded as the most important concrete aspect that can be controlled by the designer and can directly affect human well-being. This is also due to the fact that people pass an important part of their time indoors in designed environments. Especially home, school and working spaces must be regarded as living environments, which have significant role on our well-being. In spite of their great impact on our daily lives, research about well-being in living environments is very limited. In this sense this chapter aims to discuss the controllable factors in our living environments through a framework focusing on well-being in interior space.

Considering studies about well-being, human needs and environment, the research of Biologist Stephen Boyden, can be regarded as one of the earliest and comprehensive studies that discuss the environmental and spatial aspects of well-being. In their article Human ecology and the quality of life, Boyden and Millar (1978) state that the study of the total environment is fundamentally similar to system ecology in biological science, and involves consideration of the components of the ‘system as a whole’ and their dynamic interrelationships. It differs from biological system ecology in that the systems under investigation contain, in addition to inorganic and biotic components and processes, the components and processes of human culture. The second orientation is referred to as ‘human experience’. It is based on recognition of the fact that each individual human being experiences his own personal life conditions, which are influenced by the properties of the total environment, and which, in turn, are the main determinants of his level of health and well-being. Boyden, in his research in 1971, distinguishes between “survival needs” and “well-being” needs. Survival needs deal with aspects of the environment that directly affect human health, such as clear air and water, lack of pathogens or toxins, and opportunity for rest and sleep. Well-being needs, on the other hand, are more indirect in their locus of impact. These needs affect overall health through their relationship to fulfilment, quality of life, and psychological health. Where failure to satisfy survival needs may lead to serious illness or death, failure to satisfy the well-being needs produces the “grey life” of psychosocial maladjustment and stress related illnesses. Taken as a whole, the research by Boyden and others identifies well being needs that should be addressed in building design:

  • Opportunity to engage in spontaneous social encounters.

  • Opportunity for relaxation and psychological restoration.

  • Opportunity for privacy and for movement between interaction and solitude, as desired.

  • Opportunity for learning and information sharing.

  • Opportunity for connection to the natural environment.

  • Opportunity for regular exercise.

  • Sound levels not much above or below that of nature.

  • Meaningful change and sensory variability.

  • An interesting visual environment with aesthetic integrity.

  • Sense of social equity and respect.

  • Ability to maintain and control personal comfort.

  • Making sense of the environment.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Framework: A complete structure of rules and principles for a certain task.

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