UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Family life in the apartment environment : a study of the social aspects of apartment housing for families. Lyman, Eva Georgina Hilda


As our major cities increase in size, more and more families may be expected to prefer central housing in the form of an apartment to the outlying single family house. In the major cities the need to achieve greater densities in order to make more economical use of our land is another factor of growing importance. Although the rate of construction of apartment buildings hag increased in recent years, there has been little recognition of the fact that certain families with children may increasingly wish to live in apartments due to the benefits offered by housing located close to employment, social and cultural facilities. The social values of families differ, depending on the orientation and interests of the members, and may be expected to affect the housing type desired. The group which might be better served by apartment housing may be larger than expected. However, at the present time apartment houses have certain disadvantages for family living. Some complaints which are commonly raised are discussed in this thesis. Clearly any improvements aimed at making the apartment environment suitable for family living must take into account the social needs and roles of the family and its members. A thorough study of sociological literature on the family and its needs was carried out. These needs ape discussed and interpreted in terms of their housing significance and implications for the apartment environment. It is concluded that with some changes in the present way of building apartments, and with the provision of various facilities necessary for family development on a communal or community basis, the apartment environment could be adapted to family living. Additional proof of the feasibility of making the apartment environment acceptable for family life can be seen in the Swedish housing situation. There a large proportion of families with children are housed in three and four story walk-up apartments, without suffering any hardship. The stress in Sweden, moreover, is on community planning with all the requirements of the people in mind, rather than on one isolated aspect of the total picture (i.e. the construction of dwellings). The dwelling unit alone is not considered to be adequate to take care of all the social needs of the family. Facilities for outdoor recreation, hobbies, cultural and other activities, are seen as a necessary extension of the home. They are provided outside the home, but as close as possible to it. Since the Canadian people have lived traditionally in their own houses, some prejudice against other housing types can be expected to linger. However, if the apartment environment provided as many of the amenities popularly associated with the single family home as possible, in addition to being centrally located, public prejudice may be expected to disappear in time.

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