The suburban disadvantage
Urban and suburban populations are growing across Europe. While cities are attractive, principally for their economic activity, people generally move to the suburbs to be close to work opportunities and cultural activities, while seeking a better quality of life in terms of housing cost, pollution, noise and more space7.
However, the type of home – single-family home or multi-family home – and its location in an urban, suburban or rural area, will influence how severe the problems with housing deficiencies and their impact on childhood health can be. Therefore, we need to look at where the issues occur to get a full overview of the problem.
The Healthy Homes Barometer 2018 showed that suburban areas have roughly twice as many single-family homes as urban areas, and this could prove to be an increasing challenge. In this barometer, we find that children in single-family homes which are typical of suburbs, are more likely to experience fair to bad health when their homes are too dark or too cold compared to children in multi-family homes.
Damp, dark and cold single-family homes
Bigger homes do not always equal better ones. Single-family homes, which are typical of suburbs, are more likely to have several exposed exterior elements per dwelling, which is where deficiencies like dampness and cold indoor climates most often occur7.
In turn, children living in single-family suburban homes are especially vulnerable to the health effects associated with having a poor indoor climate.