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Activity patters : their relation to the design of low income housing Fukui, June

Abstract

The study hypothesizes that the working class have evolved a distinctive life style, in terms of stable and recurring activity and behaviour patterns. It is argues that thorough knowledge and understanding of these patterns can provide meaningful design requirements for the planning of new residential areas or for the redevelopment of the present "grey" areas in central cities. A review of literature pertinent to the working class and low income housing suggested that the housing priorities of the working class revolve first around attaining home ownership and secondly around locating conveniently near basic contacts, that is, work, stores and friends and relatives. Without an adequate supply of low income housing, the possibilities of home ownership are negligible. Thus, the thesis investigated two obstacles hindering increases in the low income housing supply. They are: (1) the hesitancy to accept non-convential construction techniques and (2) the lack of governmental initiative in creating direct increases to low income housing supply. In general terms, it is suggested that large scale industrialized building will provide a promising solution to the problem of high housing costs but also that, in accepting mass system housing, the necessity of thoroughly studying the people for whom the housing is constructed must be recognized. Innovative governmental programs, for example, the turn-key techniques, show possibilities of satisfying the high priority need of the working class, that is, the security of tenure or more simply, home ownership. The literature reviewed also indicated that the locational preferences of the working class were dependent upon transportation availability and costs to work, the nearness to employment opportunities and the convenience to social, commercial and other local facilities. These factors are, therefore, considered important requisites in the location of low income housing. A study of working class activity and behaviour involved an appraisal of their attitudes and preferences. A short over-view of existing literature investigating working class attitudes in the areas of the family, the home, the neighbourhood and consumer behaviour is presented. The primary analysis involved a detailed study of working class activities and behaviour. Basically four studies were used to document the stable and routine activity patters of the working class. The use of information culled from these studies is subject to many limitations. However, it is felt that the material does indicate several spatially significant working class activity patterns. A comparison of activities and existing physical planning criteria is used to suggest the areas of compatability and conflict between the activities and the criteria. The comparison also gives evidence of characteristic working class activities that are not generally considered in terms of the spatial arrangements that the activities suggest. It is suggested that the descriptive evidence provided is sufficient to indicate the distinctiveness of working class activities and behaviour. From a planning point of view, the implications derived from the spatial patterning of their activities suggest distinctive design criteria for the planning of low income working class communities. To conclude, planning which focuses on integrating the surrounding neighbourhood and the local facilities with the home area would accommodate the familiar activity patterns of the working class.

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