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‘“Yet Another Apartment Block…?!” A Critique of Housing Provision in Cities, and Qualities That Make Urban Houses Desirable.’

Smith, CR (2017) ‘“Yet Another Apartment Block…?!” A Critique of Housing Provision in Cities, and Qualities That Make Urban Houses Desirable.’. In: AMPS Conference Publication Series 8. Government and Housing in a Time of Crisis: Policy, Planning, Design and Delivery. , 8. (Government and Housing in a Time of Crisis: Policy, Planning, Design and Delivery, 08 September 2016 - 09 September 2016, Liverpool John Moores University).

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Abstract

Over the last two decades city-living has transformed many UK urban areas beyond recognition, and urban dwelling has become an ingrained part of our culture. However, with developers providing woefully limited choice, options to live in these places are restricted to those whose needs are catered for by a very small range of dwelling types; for example, less than 2 per cent of dwellings in central Manchester aren’t flats. Consequently both demographic diversity and variety in the urban fabric are being severely undermined, much to their detriment. Cities are desirable places because of their rich tapestry, and flats are an essential thread composing that weave. This presentation argues, however, that the types of dwelling being built for a city’s population should be broadened, thus addressing a Hobson’s choice of one- and two-bedroom apartments and student flats. In doing so, the urban grain will be richer, there will be more choice for those already residing in urban places, and other demographics may be attracted to live there. After identifying the characteristics that make houses distinct as a typology – such as the disposition of private outdoor space and the configuration of thresholds between public and private realms – these attributes are analysed in a discussion about the qualities that make houses appropriate in the particular context of urban areas. These theoretical concepts are illustrated by exemplary precedents, recent and past, which are dissected to illustrate their key qualities. Collectively these offer principles to consider in future urban house designs. Building houses in cities is contentious, however, and plagued with challenges such as scale, contextuality and affordability; indeed, houses have been built within cities in dreadfully inappropriate ways. Often, the presentation shows, this is a combination of poor design and planning; cautionary tales over matters such as density and massing are, therefore, also told.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
T Technology > TH Building construction
Divisions: Liverpool School of Art and Design
Publisher: AMPS
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2017 10:11
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2017 10:11
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6699

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