6 types of phobias and “winter depression”: how life in a high-rise building affects us

We strive to live in cities: educational institutions, offices of large companies, entertainment and intellectual events are concentrated there. At the same time, we do not notice what influence the city has on us – even its architecture. We tell how life in high-rise buildings changes our well-being and what to do about it.

High-rise buildings: 6 types of phobias

Citizens most often live in high-rise buildings. That being said, there is an obvious truth: many people are afraid of heights. Environmental psychologist Robert Gifford believes that people are not adapted to live high above the ground. “For our ancient species, living on the upper floors is a completely new phenomenon. The conclusion suggests itself that high-rise buildings are unnatural for us, and it is possible that everything unnatural is somehow harmful.

Gifford says that, on average, upper-floor residents “develop at least six kinds of phobias.”

What are these phobias?

– one of the neighbors or relatives will fall or jump out of the window;

– during a fire they will be trapped;

– an earthquake will break out;

– there will be a terrorist attack;

– outsiders will enter common areas (and commit a crime);

– they are constantly attacked by viruses of infectious diseases.

Vertigo: The Story of Mrs. El -Dinnaoui

Here, for example, is the story of Mrs. El -Dinnaoui . In March 2013, an unusual decision was made in court: the London authorities had to relocate the tenant several floors below. The El -Dinnaoui family lived on the ninth floor, but after the birth of their third child, they needed a bigger apartment. They gave them an apartment, only seven floors higher. Already during the viewing of new housing on the sixteenth floor, Mrs. El -Dinnaoui fainted in the elevator.

At the hospital, she was diagnosed with a panic attack caused by “an incurable fear of heights.”

Her husband immediately refused the proposed living space. Local authorities assured that the woman could well adapt to life upstairs – she would curtain the windows and live for herself, as if on the ninth. The court, however, sided with the woman and ordered the officials to allocate another apartment.

Stressors and “winter depression”

In many high-rise buildings there are things that provoke stress. Although they could have been avoided. Architectural decisions have formed the following sources of stress:

  • lack of sunlight;
  • light pollution from street lamps and billboards;
  • dense traffic and street noise (high-rise buildings are most often located near highways);
  • traffic vibrations;
  • poor ventilation.

Residents of densely built cities (such as Hong Kong) experience a lack of natural light, which leads to rapid fatigue and the so-called “winter depression”. Correcting this situation is real: you can use reflectors to redirect light from the upper floors to the lower ones. They are installed in each apartment at an angle of 45 ° to the window.

Everyone is looking at me

Another source of stress is the dense arrangement of buildings. For example, residents of the new and prestigious N-Y-O- Bankside residential complex in London’s South Bank complained that visitors to the observation deck of the new Tate Modern building were watching them.
N-I-O Bankside and visitors to the new Tate Modern building

This problem of high-rise buildings is usually not taken into account by either developers or residents. For example, the director of the Tate gallery suggested simply hanging tulle on the windows. In essence, he stated that if a person chooses transparent windows, then he does not mind being watched. Don’t be surprised that everyone is watching.

Lack of external territory

In 1972, at the initiative of the UK Department of the Environment, a study was conducted on how mothers with small children feel on floors above the first. Housewives with children were most dissatisfied: the floor did not bother them, but they really wanted a house with a garden. Later, a study was conducted that compared living in an apartment with living in a house.

The results are stunning: apartment dwellers fell ill 57% more often, and their rates of neurosis were eight times (!) Higher.

Psychologists have suggested that the lack of external territory is to blame. Spaces where children could play, mothers could walk, and fathers could relax after a hard day’s work.

Is there a way out?

We made sure that life in a high-rise building is often not sugar. However, what to do? Move or endure?

The architects offer an obvious solution – to design an improved multi-storey housing equipped with green areas. It is these small gardens that make the yard well-groomed and allow people to relax. Residents of buildings become more attached to the house, because the atmosphere is inviting, regenerating and relieves stress.

Bedok-Kurt in Singapore

The first example of new high-rise buildings was Bedok-Kurt in Singapore. The new homes have “tropical patios” on each level, one per apartment. They are separated by ventilation shafts. The corridors between the apartments imitate kampongs (small Indonesian villages), they overlook the courtyards – you can say these are “tropical streets in the sky.”

Bosco Verticale in Milan

An unusual complex of skyscrapers, Bosco Verticale, has opened in Milan: its creators planned to build a vertical forest in the very center of the city. Eight hundred trees and four thousand bushes were planted.

Skyscraper in Redovre

The skyscraper in Copenhagen’s Rødovre district has yet to be built, but will be oriented to the north so that the glazed “gardens in the sky” face south, where there is more sun. The multi-level Sky Village could become a model for future high-rise building projects.

The world is changing. Today, more and more architects understand that people with average incomes should not live in “concrete” boxes, and more “human” skyscrapers should be created. So that each resident has his own private space, good neighborly environment, light, air and a green island of happiness.

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