Rural housing characteristics and the quality of life: The effects of changing environment on behavior in Tanzania
Theorists have maintained that there is a considerable correlation between environment and behavior. The relationship between the built environment and behavior is explored in this inquiry into the effects of structural changes of housing on behavior in one of the Least Developed Countries. The effects caused by the changing rural house forms on the quality of life are examined and measured. The study utilizes mainland Tanzania Census data on twenty regions, which form the units of analysis. Path analysis techniques are used to examine the strength of relationships between housing forms and five behavioral variables, indices of the quality of life, with the intervention of two sets of five socio-economic and three service variables. High negative correlations of both direct and total effects of changing house forms on cohesion were found. Manipulation of the variables revealed that solidarity would survive the innovation of rural housing, if the existing (traditional) house forms were preserved. There are moderately negative total effects and positive direct effects between changing house forms and thriftiness, as well as a low negative direct effect and a very low negative total effect of the changing house forms on house improvement. The changing house forms have a very high positive total effect on personal care, as was expected. And finally, both direct and total effects of changing house forms on socialization are positive and very high. Because socialization was measured in terms of modern education, its positive relationship to house forms must be interpreted as inverse to the traditional socialization process. The findings support the hypothesis that a structural change in house forms, the changing physical environment, adversely affects behavior and the overall quality of life.