The modern urban lifestyle of where people are living in increasingly smaller apartments, often in dense concrete jungles, with little natural light permeating their homes has become a huge cause for concern. Numerous studies have found the adverse effects of such a lifestyle to be ranging from anxiety and depression to, physiological disorders. City dwellers are increasingly spending their time indoors – offices, AC cars and cloistered homes, reducing the amount of natural air and sunlight required for a body to be healthy; especially for children, who barely even get to play outdoors.
The evidence of the positive benefits of access to daylight on human health and well-being is now indisputable. Nature provides the right dose (intensity) of the right type (wavelength) at the right time of day to entrain the human body’s circadian rhythms. In doing so, daylight plays a critical role in maintaining the body’s key processes, such as hormone production, the sleep/wake cycle, and immune system effectiveness. Lack of daylight at the right time of the day can cause significant health risks, as has been shown by studies on the increased incidence of cancer in circadian-rhythm-disrupted shift workers.
In contrast, access to daylight has been shown to significantly improve productivity and reduce absenteeism in office settings and increase healing rates in healthcare environments
A view to the outdoors has also been shown to be beneficial to the health and well-being of building occupants. Views of nature specifically appear to be even more important because they have been shown to also reduce stress levels and improve mood. The World Health Organization says that mental health disorders are expected to be the number-two illness worldwide by 2020, and stress can be a major contributor. Providing views of nature and access to daylight within the built environment would therefore seem to be an important design factor
In India, where such issues go entirely unnoticed, it rests upon us to choose our options wisely when considering buying a house and focus on not just the location and the price but the ventilation, the views and the outdoor amenities that will allow our families breathe easy, literally.
At Marathon, we think deeply about such use experiences – our design team thinks about the orientation of the buildings and the size of windows. We even conduct solar studies to ensure that homes receive plenty of natural light. Innovations like the wide living room at Nexworld takes this to a whole other level.
And although such amenities and views may come at a slight premium (it even costs us more to build such spaces) they are a part of a conscious drive to give residents and customers a healthier and sustainable lifestyle that, in the long run, makes up for its costs by a huge margin. It has become imperative now that we are careful in our selection of homes and invest in a good future for us and our families and live a hassle free life in sync with nature.
Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices, World Green Building Council Report, September 2014.
Bill Browning, Chris Garvin, Cattie Rayan, Namia Kallianpurkar, Leslie Labruto, Siobhan Watson, and Travis Knop, “The Economics of Biophilia: Why Designing With Nature in Mind Makes Financial Sense,” Terrapin Bright Green LLC, 2012.