Affordability and quality issues in social housing; a comparative study in selected European countries

Gharanfoli, Shilan
Süreli Yayın başlığı
Süreli Yayın ISSN
Cilt Başlığı
Graduate School
In recent years, there has been an ever-greater demand for affordable housing in metropolitan regions. However, with rapid urbanization and population growth, housing people in decent conditions has become challenging. Access to affordable housing has become more critical, particularly in the global emergency posed by COVID-19. Despite all efforts to tackle housing shortages, the issue continuously increases. The quantity of housing is not the only issue; the quality of the living environment also plays an important role. Today, people's living conditions have changed, and social housing needs to accommodate a greater diversity. Social housing must be more inclusive and multigenerational to be sustained for a long time. This research examines the relationship between housing quality and affordability and the possibility of reconciling these seemingly contradictory concepts in social housing design. The study rethinks the role of architectural design principles and housing policies in transforming social housing. The study compares European attitudes toward social housing policies and implementations of their integration into global housing policies. It is based on multidimensional research that combines quality and affordability aspects. The literature review indicates that the attitude toward the concept of housing affordability has changed; it is not only assessed in terms of economic viability, but it extends to border issues related to housing quality, neighborhood quality, and quality of life. Lack of balance between quality and affordability will be economically and socially costly throughout the life-cycle of housing and directly impacts dwellers' life quality. While considering this balance, social housing design provides more potential for sustainable developments. The research also developed a social housing timeline model (1984–2018). A historical timeline of social housing provides a better perspective for creating a successful project. It examined the transformation of social housing in four selected European countries and five historical periods. The selected countries for research are the UK, the Netherlands, Austria, and France. They were chosen for analysis because they have a long history and the highest percentage of social housing in Europe. The timeline model presents the transformation of social housing from the 19th century to the present. The status of social housing has risen and fallen over time. Population, household size, ownership status, rents, the quality of indoor and outdoor public amenities, and crime rates have all changed, and these have affected social housing. Besides assessing its transformation as a whole process, the research also investigated sixteen projects from different countries and periods. In other words, the study indicates that changes and the extent of issues vary across projects and over time. It evaluated projects in the four countries during four periods, assessing transformations of concepts, practices, and policies throughout the history of social housing. In this sense, the thesis represents social housing transformation through those sixteen case studies in Europe. It examines the renovation of significant social housing projects, both completed and in development, at various urban scales, from the neighborhood and public spaces to blocks and residential units. Also, different periods of transformation and the main changes in housing design and policy that have affected social housing architecture are examined. For this purpose, the research developed a multicriteria framework to analyze the dynamic relationship between housing quality and affordability. The multicriteria set includes ten aspects: accessibility, identity, diversity, adaptability, density, privacy, safety, social interactions, energy efficiency, and cost-efficiency. The research applies this framework to case studies to explore aspects that enhance the design quality and housing affordability of renovated social housing. As a result, comparing case studies illustrates the success rate of social housing in terms of design principles and their contribution to designing more affordable housing. The case study analysis makes it possible to understand better each social housing regarding the defined set of criteria in terms of quality and affordability. Also, intervention methods used for the renovation of case studies are compared, and their effects on housing quality and affordability are investigated. The physical intervention strategies related to modifying existing units and adding new units help to improve housing diversity, adaptability, and density. The physical interventions related to renovating the facade offer several solutions and arrangements for promoting the physical identity. Enhancing the building's connection with its neighborhood through physical interventions promotes social interactions, enhances privacy, ensures safety for its tenants, and generates housing diversity and mixed-used developments. This research tries to bring together a remarkable selection of architectural case studies, from award-winning projects to thought-provoking speculation on housing redevelopment. It analyzes the transformation of social housing from the 1900s to the present and the complex social housing issues revolving around how authorities, in collaboration with architects and residents, can address profound social housing solutıons to create more high-quality and affordable housing. The findings from literature research and case study analysis are used to propose new social housing improvement strategies. This proposed framework includes physical, socio-cultural, and economic dimensions to improve housing quality, strengthen balanced communities, and create a more affordable housing. The proposed methods indicate that hybrid partnerships that create mixed-use projects are a new paradigm for successful social housing redevelopments. The future of social housing depends on partnerships, people-based design, and place-based planning that make mixed developments. According to the comparative analysis of selected countries and case studies, the redevelopment of most large-scale social housing projects has led to changes in tenure, typology, density, and delivery methods. The most significant shift in social housing is toward public-private partnerships, mixed-use development projects, sustainable architecture, and new forms of living. After many years of standard dwellings, some European countries began to experience a new era in social housing design. The research examined social housing from a new perspective to understand its aspects and interrelationships. In this sense, the research provided a holistic and transdisciplinary model based on planning, design, construction, social interaction, policy, and financing strategies. Indeed, the developed set of criteria for housing quality and affordability and the proposed integrated social housing model make it possible to redevelop social housing sustainability. This integrated social housing model can help designers, decision-makers, and university authorities better understand the relationship between housing quality and affordability to create sustainable social housing developments. It also provides opportunites. Further studies toward developing a more comprehensive and in-depth knowledge base are possible by adding new indicators to have a more detailed examination of sustainable social housing. Also, the study's findings are significant in transferring aspects to other contexts.
Thesis(Ph.D.) -- Istanbul Technical University, Graduate School, 2022
Anahtar kelimeler
European countries, Avrupa ülkeleri, housing quality, konut kalitesi, social house, sustainability, sürdürülebilirlik, renovation, yenileme