Towards a human-centred approach for enhancing place prosperity: defining and operating within the basic human needs

Aisha Abubakar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Downloads (Pure)


The concept of basic human needs, though diversely interpreted, remains a policy and practice approach to combat poverty and improve wellbeing. Meanwhile, defining locally sensitive basic needs to support context-specific improvement is still an essential requirement. The paper examines basic human needs fulfilment in the context of effective improvement strategies and proposes a Basic Human Needs Glossary, a definition framework and tool for understanding needs pursuits and helping to streamline responses towards establishing their potential.

The proposal for basic needs and development by the economist Manfred Max-Neef is examined from an operative point of view, including the role that the actualization of needs-centred goals performs in the pursuit of prosperity. The paper then adopts, adapts and defines the basic needs proposed by Max-Neef and outlines Basic Terms of Pursuit (BToP) for these through qualitative content analysis.

It is possible to breakdown the basic needs concepts into smaller subsets of traits, which are framed within the interrelated dimensions of personal and social interactions of people, and of people and environment (natural and man-made).

Research limitations/implications
The glossary with BToP is not conclusive, however. There is still potential to advance and further refine these through further content, qualitative and ethnographic research.

Enabling capacities for progressive needs fulfilment is, in theory, key to facilitating paths to prosperity, especially in intervention processes to improve vulnerable communities, like slums. A deeper clarification of needs pursuit presented by the glossary adds rigor to this task and to enhancing wellbeing standards overall. Thus, it can play an important resource role in urban practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalOpen House International
Early online date3 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Aug 2021


  • basic human needs
  • policy
  • practice
  • wellbeing
  • architecture
  • Maslow
  • hierarchy of needs
  • needs theories


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards a human-centred approach for enhancing place prosperity: defining and operating within the basic human needs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this