There is a direct relationship between housing conditions and the health of the people who live in them. This has been demonstrated in recent years and is now recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO). The COVID-19 crisis has shown even more clearly, if that were possible, the importance of healthy living conditions both in the home and in our immediate environment. In addition, the increasing trend towards teleworking and remote learning, along with factors such as population ageing, point to us spending more time than ever at home in the medium and long term.
The HABITAS project (Housing and Health during the Pandemic and Beyond), supported by the COAC, among other institutions, was a winner at the Awards for Scientific Research into Urban Challenges of the City of Barcelona. The research study, which examines the complex relationship between housing and health, was headed by architect Carlota Sáenz de Tejada with the support of the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), the UPC, the CSIC, the Barcelona Metropolitan Housing Observatory, the Societat Orgànica cooperative and FabLab Barcelona, as well as the COAC Working Group on Architecture and Health.
The project aims to help find solutions to some of the main housing challenges facing the city of Barcelona and its metropolitan area, and hopes to come up with the answers to questions such as these: To what extent does the type of building, its occupancy level, and the ventilation habits of its households contribute to interior air quality? Is there a connection between these factors and the rate of COVID-19 infection in the city?
Awards for Scientific Research into Urban Challenges
The Awards, organized by Barcelona City Council as part of the Barcelona Science Plan 2020-2023, are aimed at members of the scientific community under the age of 40, from any branch of knowledge. The aim is to stimulate and strengthen young talent in Barcelona and support innovative projects that think ‘outside the box’ of the city’s general model.
These first Awards, which have a total endowment of 1.2 million euros, attracted 72 entrants, 22 of which were awarded a prize. The selected projects targeted issues such as population density, public space, social welfare, sustainable mobility, the climate crisis, population ageing, and new productive models, among other topics.