COVID-19 pandemic has been unlike anything most of us have encountered in our lifetimes. Without a vaccine or drug to prevent or to treat, physical methods are the only methods of prevention. By default, built environmental factors have been brought to the forefront in dealing with it. Currently, published studies have focussed on the layout and construction of workspaces to enable physical distancing, with comments on transportation modes and distance from places of residence. The largest and most strict lockdown ever, aspects of micro built environment, or the place of living and its impact on the people was important for effective implementation of the lockdown. There has not been a formal documented of this subject. The current exploratory work assessed the effect of the immediate built environment on the daily living during the initial weeks of the lockdown. This social experiment can offer insights into how aspects of daily living are impacted by the immediate surroundings. While the effects of built environment on health (well-being, physical exercise, access to food, sleep and shift work) are recognised, this offers an unusual opportunity to assess how these were affected by voluntary isolation. Further longitudinal studies can provide information into the long-term implications, when economic burden begins to be felt as a result of the forced lockdown. In addition, transdisciplinary interactions of built environment, workplace design, distance from place of residence, stress at work and at home, hours of sleep, place for relaxation can provide a comprehensive framework for further design of spaces.
In an effort to arrest the spread of COVID-19 infection, a nation-wide lockdown was declared in India in March 2020. To assess how personal built environment affected the citizens in the first few weeks, an explorative online survey was conducted, eliciting responses about the work habits before the lockdown, the psychological well-being, time spent in various activities, characteristics of those who worked from home and sleep patterns. The major difference entailed by thelockdown was a reduction of time and distance to go to their workplace, which was an average of 8.9 km. In terms of diet, subjects who were vegetarian did not experience any difference, unlike those who were non-vegetarians, who reduced the intake of meat. Forced social isolation did not alter the television channels that were viewed. Among those who worked from home, most preferred to work from their bedroom. There was no change in the quality or quantity of sleep during the lockdown. This study in the early weeks of the lockdown documents the way in which individuals lived through it in terms of the built environment at home.