With the increasing world population and increasing life expectancy, the pressure on living space has increased. This has greatly affected the built environment as people seek to maximize the available space. People have become overcrowded in offices, recreational areas and even roads. Currently, the biggest challenge facing the built environment is ensuring sustainability by effectively managing the limited natural resources. There are different problems associated with built environment, which come as a challenge to sustainability.
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One of the problem is sanitary conditions. Since people are now overcrowded in small living spaces than before, it has become harder to ensure proper sanitary conditions in architectural design. Mostly, when constructions are made, they are estimated to support a certain capacity, and sometimes, that capacity can be underestimated. If for instance, the sewerage and drainage system was designed to accommodate a given number of people, an increase in the number of people expected to share the building will bring about unsanitary conditions (Perdue, Stone, Gostin, 2003, p.1391). Ventilation, which is also designed depending on the expected capacity can be affected when the capacity is exceeded. In this manner, the built environment can be said to be exposing people to hazardous lifestyles which negatively affect their health.
Another major problem associated with built environment is its negative effects on people’s social lives. Most buildings are designed to enhance the independence of the people living there, their security and privacy. However, some aspects of built environment can hinder people form interacting with each other as well as their environment. People can live in the house for weeks without having to walk out. This lack of connection with other people and the environment has a negative effect on sustainability since not many people will be concerned about others (Dimun, 2011, p.195).
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- Dimuna, K.O., 2011. The Social Effects of the Built Environment: A Case Study of Selected Buildings in Benin City, Nigeria. Journal of Human Ecology-New Delhi, 34(3), p.189.
- Perdue, W.C., Stone, L.A. and Gostin, L.O., 2003. The built environment and its relationship to the public’s health: the legal framework. American journal of public health, 93(9), pp.1390-1394.