UBC Graduate Research

Mind The Gap : Re-imagining care in the private suburb Loh, Erica


A future of equality is impossible to achieve in the built environment of suburbia. The suburbs have long been placed in our cities, and into societal views of what constitutes a home. For countless years these spaces have harbored design practices that work explicitly against supporting any household that does not fit the white, middle-class model of the nuclear family. We have now been left with, and continue to build, suburban communities that are centered around ideas of private lives and self sufficiency. These practices assist in North America being uncaring in nature as social networks are placed predominantly within the private home. It is with this base that the suburban landscape has become a highly gendered space, with a dominant focus on women as belonging in the private sphere. This thesis begins to question how change to built form and urban design in these neighbourhoods can assist in opening up to being caring communities. It looks at how we might live as a supportive network of households that starts to break down the contemporary condition of placing care purely within the private realm and speculates on how changing that may begin to alter our everyday lives.

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