The impact of the design and quality of communal areas in apartment buildings on residents' neighbouring and loneliness

Alexandra Kleeman, Billie Giles-Corti, Lucy Gunn, Paula Hooper, Sarah Foster

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The shift towards higher density living in Australia, with the compact and shared spaces inherent to apartments, has prompted considerations of residents' social outcomes. This study tested whether communal area design in apartment buildings impacts residents' neighbouring and loneliness. Apartment developments (n = 113) in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth were assessed for objective building and policy-related measures of communal area design and quality, and residents' perceptions and use of communal areas. Behavioural and subjective factors had the strongest impact. Use of outdoor areas was positively associated with neighbouring and poorer perceptions of outdoor areas predicted lower neighbouring. Equally, residents who did not use indoor areas were more likely to be lonely while neighbouring was protective against loneliness. Objective measures had indirect impacts (i.e., communal area design quality impacts use, which in turn predicts neighbouring and loneliness). Our findings have policy and design implications, suggesting that communal areas are significant for social outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104126
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

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