17 Apr 2021
International journal of environmental research and public health;
Modern housing units must meet new needs and requirements; housing dimensions and functional characteristics are relevant issues, mainly considering population ageing and disability. The housing standards of nine European countries were compared to analyze their ability to satisfy new population need, in terms of size. The regulations were downloaded from the websites of the official channels of each country. A wide variability in room size was observed (e.g., single room: from 9 m
in Italy to 7 m
in France, to the absence of any limit in England and Wales, Germany-Hesse, and Denmark). Italian and French legislations define housing dimension considering the room destination and the number of people. The Swedish regulation provides performance requirements and functional indications but does not specify the minimum dimensions of habitable rooms. The rooms' minimum heights vary between 2.70 m in Italy and Portugal and 2.60 m in the Netherlands, but no limits are established in England and Wales. A diverse approach among European countries regulations is observed: from a market-oriented logic one (e.g., England and Wales) in which room minimum dimensions are not defined to a prescriptive one (Italy) and one that is functionality-oriented (the Netherlands). However, considering the health, social, environmental, and economic trends, many of these standards should be revised.