Knowledge gaps in the construction of rural healthy homes: A research agenda for improved low-cost housing in hot-humid Africa

October 2019
Lorenz von Seidlein, Hannah Wood, Otis Sloan Brittain, Lucy Tusting, Alexa Bednarz, Salum Mshamu, Catherine Kahabuka, Jacqueline Deen, David Bell, Steve W. Lindsay, Jakob Knudsen

Summary points

• The population of Africa is projected to increase 3-fold before 2100. Enormous
resources will be required to construct houses for the predicted additional 2.5 billion
new inhabitants (alongside provision of food, education, medical care, and other
• This population growth presents an opportunity to incorporate housing concepts that
can improve health and well-being.
• Well-designed houses should provide thermal comfort and a barrier to separate diseasecarrying
vectors from residents, decrease indoor pollution, and incorporate water supply,
sanitation, electricity, and security.
• We identified the following research priority areas: optimal building shape, roofing, vector
barriers, cladding, water supply, sanitation, kitchen design, electricity supply, rural
to periurban housing, and user acceptability.
• Improved housing incorporating novel design elements tailored to local environments
in the hot-humid regions of Africa will require investments that could come through
innovative financing mechanisms for residential property. Better housing will promote
well-being and health and play a critical role in achieving the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs).