Assessing housing exposures and interventions that impact healthy cities: a systematic overview of reviews
Richards GC., Carpenter J., Okpalugo E., Howard DJ., Heneghan C.
Aim: There are direct links between housing and health. However, there is a lack of systematic reviews that bring together the evidence to outline the health impacts of exposures in housing and housing interventions. This article aims to address this gap by synthesising systematic reviews on the themes of housing exposures and interventions. Methods: We searched four databases: Scopus (Elsevier), PsycINFO (OvidSP), Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index (Web of Science Core Collection), and the Sociology Collection (Proquest). We used keywords related to ‘health’ and ‘city*’ and included all types of reviews. We extracted data into a predesigned extraction form and synthesised information narratively. Results: 745 articles were identified and screened, of which 256 reviews were included and 16 (6%) related to housing. All reviews related to housing exposures found that poor housing, including crowding, coldness, dampness, mould, and indoor air pollution had a negative impact on health. Most reviews found that housing interventions such as housing refurbishment, heating, and energy efficiency interventions positively impacted health outcomes. An online toolkit was developed to disseminate and communicate this research: https://www.healthycitiescommission.org/toolkit/. Conclusion: Governments have a pivotal role in addressing health issues related to housing interventions and exposures in housing. This includes interventions through building regulations following international guidance and financial assistance to encourage housing modifications that will improve health.