جزوه زبان تخصصی معماری

جزوه زبان تخصصی معماری

جزوه زبان تخصصی معماری با کد 0007 با فرمت pdf

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Housing preference and satisfaction

People‟s housing preferences depend on such personal factors as different phases in life, social and cultural background, financial situation, expectations, and on the architectural characteristics of a building or a dwelling (Gifford 2002). Gifford (2002) defines housing satisfaction as the feeling resulting from the perception of a positive balance between preference and choice in relation to one‟s dwelling. If housing preferences and actual housing situation (choice) differ greatly, people are likely to be dissatisfied with where they live (Gifford 2002; Richter 2004). In investigations, housing satisfaction is tested against a real housing situation, while housing preferences, on the other hand, can be defined more generally, without referring to a actual housing situation, as they depend much more on expectations and ideals (Gifford 2002; Mayer 2002).

When evaluating housing satisfaction, the time perspective – long term or temporary, or the purpose a dweller sees in a residence can have a crucial influence on satisfaction.

The purpose people see in a residence can be based on the time they intend to spend in it, but also on the decision to invest money. It is likely that housing satisfaction differs between home owners and people who rent their accommodation (Gifford 2002). Mayer

(2002) defines housing satisfaction as an important part of people‟s quality of life (“Lebensqualität”). In German, she uses the term “Wohnqualität”, which translates into housing quality. In the context of her descriptions, the definition of her Wohnqualität is comparable to Gifford‟s (2002) definition of housing satisfaction. She defines it as: “The correspondence of an objectively good housing situation with the subjective perception and valuation of this situation for individual satisfaction” (Mayer 2002:31, my translation4). She defines the three aspects of housing situation, personal background and experiences, and subjective evaluation as mutually influencing housing preferences and satisfaction.

Mayer (2002) distinguishes between investigations of housing preference and housing satisfaction. She states that empirical investigations of housing preferences usually reveal a gap between preferences and actual housing situation, giving information on unfulfilled needs and wishes of the residents. On the other hand, investigations into housing satisfaction have a

tendency to show that a majority of people are relatively satisfied with their housing situation (Mayer 2002; Häußermann & Siebel 2000).

Häußermann & Siebel (2000) call this phenomenon satisfactory paradox. The satisfactory paradox indicates that social groups do not necessarily compare their own situation to the average standard in society, but refer to the standard of the group they belong to. People belonging to different social groups consequently show different levels of satisfaction with the same housing condition (Häußermann & Siebel 2000).

People living in low(er) standard housing are often equally or even more satisfied with their housing situation than people living in high(er) standard housing, due to their respective expectations and preferences. Housing satisfaction also increases over time of residence even without changes. Discrepancies between housing situation and preferences are usually forgotten about after some time, and the perception of reality is adjusted accordingly. If this does not occur, people are likely to move (Häußermann & Siebel 2000). In this context Mayer (2002) claims that it is useful not only to ask whether people are satisfied or dissatisfied with a housing situation but to focus on the discrepancies between preference and actual housing situation. These can tell us what people lack or wish they had in a concrete housing situation, giving comprehensive information and better explanations as to why people are either satisfied or dissatisfied with their homes (Mayer 2002; Gifford 2002).

In Mayer‟s (2002) work on housing and young people in Vienna, housing preference is the main focus. According to her, the evaluation of general preferences goes beyond the focus on satisfaction with a concrete situation, and thus can reveal tendencies within a group in society. She also emphasizes, just as Clapham (2005) that when we want to understand the preferences of a specific group, we have to focus on the opinions of the individual (Mayer 2002). Nonetheless, housing preferences are not determined by people alone, but are a product of long-lasting societal processes (social, economic, political, and cultural). Thus housing preferences change over time, and when comparing young people‟s housing situation in the post-war period to housing preferences and contemporary demands, the preferences and demands are different (Mayer 2002).

Young people develop housing preferences in the first place through the influence of their parents and their views as to what appropriate housing is. Additionally, the mass media are important for the distribution of opinions on how to live. Received housing ideas are then reproduced on the level of human relations, as when interacting with parents or friends (Mayer 2002; Clapham 2005). In the case of students, the future preferences for the time after their studies are also likely to differ from their preferences for the temporary period when they are students.

As pointed out in the section above, there is a difference in the definition of the terms preference and satisfaction. Preferences are defined as general information, not necessarily referring to concrete examples, while satisfaction is tested in relation to a specific situation. In this thesis, I focus on investigating actual housing situations. Housing satisfaction with a dwelling is seen as one important indicator of the students‟ quality of life. The subjective perception and evaluation of one‟s housing situation are main indicators for housing satisfaction, and this is a major focus of this thesis. Yet, the collected data also provide information on general preferences that are influenced by personal experiences, ideals, or by alternatives on which the students have information, as for instance a friend‟s situation. When the students talked about their housing situation in the interviews, comparison to other housing projects and to previous housing experiences were key elements. Hence, the interviews provide information on housing satisfaction and preferences, and discrepancies between these (see Articles 1 and 2). The survey asked about both elements, satisfaction with the current housing situation and preferences if the students were to move (Article no. 3), however, the analysis focuses on aspects that influence housing satisfaction with the current situation.

 

Home

“If the difference between your preference and your choice is great, you may be unsatisfied with your residence and it may never develop into a home” (Gifford 2002:241).

 

Gifford‟s quote indicates a close connection between housing satisfaction and an experience of home. A home is generally understood as a significant place for all people, but academic literature focuses on various aspects of home. The characteristics of a home can be defined as “haven, order, identity, and connectedness, warmth, and physical suitability” (Gifford 2002:238). These characteristics have a positive connotation, but it should be mentioned that a home can also be associated with negative experiences. A home can be a place of violence and abuse, and despite this fact it is often virtually impossible for the abused person to leave this home. In those cases the home experience probably resembles a prison more than to a safe place and haven.

Even though a home has a physical form, the definition above points out that a home is something more than its physical form. It is a place that people attach either a positive or negative meaning to. Moreover, a home is also formed and adjusted by its inhabitants to express their identity (Clapham 2005; Gifford 2002). The meaning and importance of the home in people‟s lives varies due to what stage they are at in their housing pathway, as well as to their cultural and social contexts (Clapham 2005). Després (1991) reviewed literature on the meaning of home from various theoretical perspectives and gives an overview of the state of research up to 1989. One conclusion of her article is that the meaning of home in the context of “non-traditional housing” needs more investigation. Non-traditional in this sense means all types of home besides the stereotypical single-family unit which previous research dominantly investigated as the good home. In many contexts, the single-family home is still seen as the ideal home, ignoring that the reality for many people is quite different. The other forms of housing than the single-family home have to be investigated to the same degree. The focus of research on different home environments has certainly broadened since Després‟ (1991) review, however, in relation to student housing, Heath & Cleaver (2003) find that is has not been acknowledged sufficiently that student accommodation is often regarded as “home” by students.

Moreover, the focus of the investigations on the meaning of home has been limited according to the field of study from which the examination originates. According to

Després (1991) home has primarily been focused on from a behavioral/human perspective, and she proposes that the focus on the meaning of the built form should be expanded. Along the same line, Moore (2000) states that: “It is ironic that while home is examined largely because it has physical form, this feature of home has been left relatively unexplored in comparison with the personal and psychological aspects”

(Moore 2000:213). The book “Architecture of the Home” by Nylander (2002) can be mentioned as an exception as it examines what Moore (2000) states was a lack of focus in research on the home. He investigates the “non-measurable architectural attributes of the home” (Nylander 2002:19) and identifies architectural attributes that influence our perception of the home (see section on architectural aspects).

In our Western culture, the home is usually understood as a permanent place (Gifford

2002), and Saunders (1990, in Clapham 2005) describes the home as the fixed place in our lives. Literature on the home suggests that in today‟s society the importance people ascribe to the home has increased as a counteraction to growing mobility and pace(Clapham 2005; Mayer 2002). However, home is not necessarily bound to one physical place and new places can become homes over time (Després 1991). People can also have several homes of a different nature and with different meanings attached to them.

Second (or even third) homes, such as leisure housing or commuter homes are also common (Quinn 2004). Due to the growing affluence of society, the demand for flexibility in professional life and increasing mobility, the circulation of people between different places is no longer seen as an anomaly but has become a characteristic of many people‟s lives (Quinn 2004). When bearing this perspective in mind, it can be argued that the home in practice is not that stable, and that the differences between temporary homes and permanent (fixed) homes are less clear than implied by the terms.

Family homes are typically considered as permanent homes, even if the degree to which they are permanent is unclear. Student housing is considered as temporary home.

Temporariness in this case is clearly defined by the limited time one spends as a student, which is also described as a transitional phase towards adulthood (Jones 2002).

The term transitional or temporary points to a period in-between two phases, expecting a more permanent phase to follow. If a housing situation is anticipated to be a temporary or transitional period, it could be understood as a less important period than a permanent one. Students are also likely to attach different meanings to different homes. The parental home might be a place of control and restriction, while freedom and personal independence is achieved by moving to student housing. Taking these aspects into consideration, Kenyon (1999) interviewed students about their definition of home away from the parental home and found differences in the definition of (and expectations for)a parental home and a temporary home. The parental home is still the „home-home‟ but it is dominated by the parents‟ taste and cannot be adapted to one‟s own wishes. The students in Kenyon‟s study expected “real” home to be a stable entity, and a place for reflecting identity and needs. They did not want to put too much effort into their student homes to make them into a meaningful home due to the temporal aspect and the rules of institutions and landlords. The given rules seem to be contrary to the expectations for a “real” home. The student homes do not live up to homes the students imagine after graduation, when they see the real possibility of creating a home (Kenyon 1999).

However, how temporary a student home is varies significantly, as some students move often, while others remain living in the same place during their entire time of study. As the youth phase and the years spent on education have been extended, compared to the past, in some cases temporary student living may therefore last longer than permanent living later in life. This shows the difficulty in trying to define exactly what temporary living is. Nonetheless, and importantly, expectations and purpose may be different in the two cases, pointing out that the notion of being a temporary or permanent dweller also has a psychological dimension. When buying a house as a family, this would be expected to be a more or less permanent home, while student homes are expected to be temporary.


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