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The Health and Social Impacts of Poor Housing Essay


Essay Question Analysis

The main question of the essay is “Investigate and explain the health and social impacts of poor housing in developed nations”. There are two command verbs in the question: “investigate” and “explain”. The verb “investigate” is a strong command word that means carrying out a systematic inquiry to determine nature, prevalence, causes, or consequences of a particular problem. Command word “explain” is also strong as it defines the act of describing relevant details or facts about a concept to make it clear to the audience. Both command words are thus strong as they refer to specific actions.

The key focus of the project is on poor housing and its impact on health and social life of people in developed countries. There are three main subtopics that are part of the project: poor housing and health, social impact of poor housing, poor housing in developed countries. Thus, the main keywords for the project are housing, social issues, health, poverty, and developed countries.


Resource 1 – Article

The purpose of the article is to explore the views of Aboriginal people who live in Western Sydney on their housing conditions and the relationship between housing and health. The authors note that the research was part of a bigger project that examines the resilience of Aboriginal people and child health in Aboriginal communities. The SEARCH project is funded by the government and focuses on a cohort of “1482 urban Aboriginal children in New South Wales, Australia” (Andersen, Williamson, Fernando, Redman, & Vincent, 2016, p. 430). The present research was prompted by the need to research the housing of Aboriginal people, which was indicated as one of the main health and social concerns. The five main keywords used in the text are Aboriginal, housing, social determinants of health, urban, and indigenous.

Resource 1 – Book

The book by Fitzpatrick (2014) presents a thoughtful exploration of the connections between poverty and climate change. Specifically, the author reviews how people who suffer from ecosocial poverty are threatened by the climate change and explains some strategies for prevention and protection. Fitzpatrick (2014) focuses specifically on developed countries as they have more capacity to address the issue at hand. Therefore, the main purpose of the book is to advocate for the need of creating “synergies between social policy and environmental policy” by exploring how climate change affects the poorest communities of developed countries (Fitzpatrick, 2014, p. 14).

The key topics explored in the book include social policy and environmental policy affecting poor communities. The author bases the vast part of his arguments on the environmentalist point of view. Therefore, the main keywords that can be highlighted from the introduction are poverty, climate change, social policy, environmentalism, and developed nations.

Resource 2

The article focuses on the effect of improvement of housing conditions on children’s health. The authors measured children’s health outcomes before and after housing intervention. The results showed that in 12-22% of cases, children’s health was improved as a result of the intervention. Moreover, the authors also measured other domains associated with living conditions, suggesting that indirect factors affecting health (hygiene, food, etc.) were also improved after the intervention. Therefore, the study shows the importance of housing conditions in predicting population health outcomes. The article was chosen due to its relevance to the project.

The research was part of the Australian efforts in improving the health of Indigenous communities by addressing poor housing conditions. The authors explain that Aboriginal people in Australia experience poor health and social outcomes, which is recognized as an important issue to be addressed (Bailie, Stevens, & McDonald, 2012). The study was conducted between 2004 and 2005 in 10 Northern Territory communities.

The structure of the article is somewhat unusual, as it does not include a thorough literature review. However, the article still follows a logical structure with clear explanations of the background, methods, and results. The authors’ arguments are based primarily on the interpretation of the results. However, the authors also consider other perspectives by referring to previous studies. For instance, they state that the findings contradict “a recent evaluation of a housing program in Aboriginal communities in the state of New South Wales (NSW) which showed a reduction in hospital admissions for children with various infectious conditions” (Bailie et al., 2012, p. 829). The authors provide reasons for the differences in results, thus supporting the present study’s outcomes.

The key evidence presented in the article is from the study conducted by the authors. The researchers also evaluate previous studies in the field, thus creating a sufficient academic background for their work. The evidence is evaluated from different perspectives. For example, although the authors found some correlation between living conditions and hygiene, they also state that previous studies showed no effect of building programs on household hygiene (Bailie et al., 2012). On the whole, the authors carefully weigh the evidence from their study and previous research to explore the topic. The language of the piece is not biased, and there are no significant differences between the authors’ voice and external material, which also supports the objectivity of analysis and evaluation.

Resource 3

There are three main authors of this article. Mckenzie Jones-Rounds is affiliated with the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University. There is no information on this author’s background and qualifications, but they have several other published works concerning the effect of environment on health outcomes. The author’s email is provided as the only source of contact information in the study. Mckenzie Jones-Rounds can be contacted via [email protected]

Gary Evans is a professor of Design and Environmental Analysis, affiliated with two separate departments at Cornell University: Department of Design and Environmental Analysis and Department of Human Development. Similarly, the author has other publications on the environment and human development and their works are widely cited in other research publications. Matthias Braubach is a Technical Officer at the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health.

This author has a range of other publications on housing conditions and their effect on health. On the whole, all authors are credible professionals in the field and are affiliated with high-level organizations. The article was first published in 2013 and appeared in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in 2014, which makes it quite recent and currently relevant to the topic. The sources in the reference list are all relevant scholarly articles published in credible journals. The relevancy and credibility of sources are important as it creates a solid foundation for the authors’ methods and hypotheses, thus contributing to the investigation.

Resource 4

The three questions that the study by Polyzois, Polyzoi, Wells, and Koulis (2016) might be able to answer are as follows:

  • How do poor living conditions affect respiratory health?
  • What are the specific housing factors that affect respiratory health in children?
  • How can the study be used to inform housing interventions?

Q1: The results confirm that living conditions affect respiratory health of children by increasing the incidence of persistent colds, asthma, and combinations of the two.

Q2: Key housing factors that produce the negative respiratory effects include mold, asthmatic relatives, smokers living in the home, home ownership, and presence of rodents in the home.

Q3: The study states that to erase risk factors, it is important to ensure good ventilation, particularly during winter months.

The three questions developed to assess the resource help to understand its results and outcomes. The first question focused on the overall results of the article and was largely based on the purpose stated by the authors. Question 2, on the other hand, aimed to add more details to the results, presuming that the authors explain the factors affecting the relationship. The last question concerns the usefulness of the study and the possibility to apply it to practice. The fact that the authors responded to all three questions confirm that the study was successful, informative, and can be used in practice.

Resource 5

The article by Friedman (2010) is structured around three main topics concerning the effect of poor living conditions on crime, education, and health. Each topic is addressed in a separate part using a list of subtopics that summarize previous research findings. Besides the main body, the article also has an abstract and an introduction that sets the background for the text. Understanding the structure of the material assists in understanding by providing a way of breaking the information down into small pieces. The main topic of the article is rather broad, which means that there are many subtopics embedded in it. Seeing that each section of the report focuses on a single subtopic allows making well-organized notes and to prioritize information presented in the article by its usefulness for the project.


Overall, the articles described in this assignment were very useful for the project. The resources explored the topic of health and social issues associated with poor housing thoroughly and consistently, presenting relevant research outcomes to support the authors’ arguments. It is important to note that all of the resources used for the project focused on housing in developed countries, which made them specific and relevant to the topic. The research used for the project came from credible sources, including scholarly journals and official publications; moreover, most of the articles were published within the past six years, which makes them recent enough for the chosen topic.

Research and analysis were the key study skills used to complete the project. A notable tool that was used to gather more information from the sources is the PRWR technique, which allows comprehending and analyzing information from the reading materials faster. The skills obtained during this course will be useful in other courses, as they can be applied to any project or topic. For example, research skills can be used to find credible and relevant sources using academic databases and the University library. Analysis skills, on the other hand, can help to analyze the material presented in the articles and apply it to the chosen topic. On the whole, the Study skills course is an important addition to the chosen academic program, as it can help to perform better in other courses.


Andersen, M. J., Williamson, A. B., Fernando, P., Redman, S., & Vincent, F. (2016). “There’s a housing crisis going on in Sydney for Aboriginal people”: Focus group accounts of housing and perceived associations with health. BMC Public Health, 16(1), 429-438.

Bailie, R. S., Stevens, M., & McDonald, E. L. (2012). The impact of housing improvement and socio-environmental factors on common childhood illnesses: A cohort study in Indigenous Australian communities. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 66(1), 821-831.

Fitzpatrick, T. (2014). Climate change and poverty: A new agenda for developed nations. Bristol, England: Policy Press.

Friedman, D. (2010). . Web.

Jones-Rounds, M. L., Evans, G. W., & Braubach, M. (2014). The interactive effects of housing and neighbourhood quality on psychological well-being. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 68(2), 171-175.

Polyzois, D., Polyzoi, E., Wells, J. A., & Koulis, T. (2016). Poor indoor air quality, mold exposure, and upper respiratory tract infections – Are we placing our children at risk? Journal of Environmental Health, 78(7), 20-27.

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