Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 90, Issue 5, pp 810–831 | Cite as

Promoting Health and Advancing Development through Improved Housing in Low-Income Settings

  • Andy Haines
  • Nigel Bruce
  • Sandy Cairncross
  • Michael Davies
  • Katie Greenland
  • Alexandra Hiscox
  • Steve Lindsay
  • Tom Lindsay
  • David Satterthwaite
  • Paul Wilkinson


There is major untapped potential to improve health in low-income communities through improved housing design, fittings, materials and construction. Adverse effects on health from inadequate housing can occur through a range of mechanisms, both direct and indirect, including as a result of extreme weather, household air pollution, injuries or burns, the ingress of disease vectors and lack of clean water and sanitation. Collaborative action between public health professionals and those involved in developing formal and informal housing could advance both health and development by addressing risk factors for a range of adverse health outcomes. Potential trade-offs between design features which may reduce the risk of some adverse outcomes whilst increasing the risk of others must be explicitly considered.


Housing Household energy Sanitation Development Health 



We thank Richard Smith of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for his helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andy Haines
    • 1
    • 10
  • Nigel Bruce
    • 2
  • Sandy Cairncross
    • 3
  • Michael Davies
    • 4
  • Katie Greenland
    • 3
  • Alexandra Hiscox
    • 5
    • 6
  • Steve Lindsay
    • 7
  • Tom Lindsay
    • 8
  • David Satterthwaite
    • 9
  • Paul Wilkinson
    • 10
  1. 1.Faculty of Epidemiology and Population HealthLondon School of Hygiene & Tropical MedicineLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Public Health and Policy, Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, Whelan Building, QuadrangleThe University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  3. 3.Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical MedicineLondonUK
  4. 4.UCL Bartlett School of Graduate StudiesLondonUK
  5. 5.Institut Pasteur du LaosVientianeLao People’s Democratic Republic
  6. 6.Laboratory of EntomologyWageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands
  7. 7.School of Biological and Biomedical SciencesDurham UniversityDurhamUK
  8. 8.Environmental Design, Robinson CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  9. 9.International Institute for Environment and DevelopmentLondonUK
  10. 10.Faculty of Public Health and PolicyLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK

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