Urbanisation and the Built Environment: Exploring How the Built Environment Can Enhance the Health and Wellbeing of the People Living in Urban Slums

  • Lilian Nwanyisonde SmartEmail author
  • Dilanthi Amaratunga
  • Richard Haigh
Conference paper


Recently, there is a phenomenal growth in the rate of the urbanisation of most countries of the world. As revealed by statistics, more than 50% of the world population already reside in cities, and this will rise to about 68% by 2050. This rapid growth represents a situation where most previously small cities are fast becoming megacities, and most previously megacities have continued to increase rapidly. Some of the immediate resultant effects of this unusual growth are both pressures on the already existing urban built environment, which consequently leads to its continuous expansion, and a remarkable increase in the population of people living in urban slums. The former and the latter effects that are the central focus of this study are worrisome situations that call for concern. The reason is that there is already a consensus among scholars that the built environment can have weighty negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of the people. The argument is that the level of these impacts hugely depends on the differences in the planning, structuring, and designing of the built environment in urban settings. With this, it may not be difficult to conclude that the impacts of living in urban slums/sub-standard built environment can be more endangering. Accordingly, this study explored the built environment, health, and wellbeing of the people living in urban slums. As a literature-based study, it reviewed relevant literature that highlights essential issues on the urban built environment and the health and wellbeing of the people in slums. The review produced an analysis demonstrating the possible characteristics of the built environment and showed how the environment can be structured and designed to enhance the health and wellbeing of the people living in urban slums. The recommendation emanating from the detailed analysis is that those who make decisions on the plan, design, and maintenance of urban built environments should start focusing on incorporating people’s health and wellbeing in their subsequent plans and designs.


Urbanisation Urban slums Built environment Health and wellbeing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lilian Nwanyisonde Smart
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dilanthi Amaratunga
    • 1
  • Richard Haigh
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK

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