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From the direction of my studies insofar, I tried to focus on the following question: how could we design better high density environments, and especially collective housing environments?

The research from the previous post has led me to a set of general conditions for designing built environments that could improve the perception of density.

It appears that built environment, both in terms of public space as well as building, if configured in a correct way can improve the perception of density, while if configured incorrectly may lead to a negative perception of density. In this regard it is useful to attempt to establish the general conditions which could support a positive perception of high density while alleviating the effects of high density. These conditions or requirements are formulated according to the needs identified in the perception and social behavior of residents of high-density environments. They do not represent predetermined spatial configurations, but are topics that can be traced by design in order to be translated into spatial configurations. Pursuing these requirements through design can lead to well balanced future living environments, to an improvement of housing and environment quality as well as an increase of residential satisfaction in high density conditions.

The conditions that support a positive perception of high density built environments could be formulated as:

  • achieving a fair balance between the need for privacy offered by housing and the need of interaction and expression in the wider community.
  • reducing unwanted social interactions, while supporting positive interactions that reinforce a sense of community.
  • maintaining satisfactory group sizes at satisfactory residential rates, depending on the conditions of the project, since contact with too many people in the common areas of residential buildings will discourage close social interactions and the sense of community.
  • presenting in the immediate vicinity of residential buildings qualitative outdoor areas, appropriate for social interaction and group control, that community members can use frequently.
  • providing availability and quality in relation to various functions and services. Also, providing easy and diversified access to those facilities is important, as well as the possibility of walking to most of the facilities needed for the daily routine.
  • providing availability and quality of transport, and also diversity for transport, such as bicycle lanes and good public transport links.
  • offering visual relationships and accessibility with qualitative green areas and support in various ways contact with nature. The green public areas in high density settings should be large, coherent, well-landscaped and well-maintained.
  • presenting a high-degree of safety and discouraging vandalism through the configuration of open, public space and also intermediary, semi-public space.
  • presenting sustainable and ecological features in the design of the housing buildings.

DSC_0729

Image: Project OASE 22 :: studio uek, ARGE Köb & Pollak / Schmoeger, goya: (Wien, Austria)

Excerpt from the paper:

Contemporary High-Density Housing. Social and Architectural Implications

written and presented at the QUESTIONS workshop held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 14-16 july 2013; in process of printing at Acta Technica Napocensis: Civil Engineering & Architecture

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