Principles of housing which achieve social interaction and community integration

by Xue Bai

Institution: Unitec New Zealand
Year: 2011
Keywords: Housing density; Courtyard housing; Auckland housing; Research by design; Research for design; 120101 Architectural Design
Record ID: 1305005
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1852


Courtyard housing in other cultures, such as China and Europe, has been proven to be capable of providing densities similar to those proposed in intensified development for Auckland. Many existing models have also proven that courtyard housing can be a sustainable housing solution relevant for the environment. However, the application of courtyard housing with higher density development has not been explored before in the New Zealand context. Present housing patterns in Auckland tend to keep different types of households segregated from one other. There are areas of two-bedroom houses, other areas of studio and one-bedroom apartments, other areas of three-and four-bedroom houses. This means we have, correspondly single people, couples and small families with children, segregated by type. However, the idea of sustainable growth is to promote the increase in density, mix of functionality and communities, and create neighbourhoods with individuality and identity. Increase in density is vital, otherwise suburbs will endlessly take over agricultural land and even the countryside, resulting in urban sprawl and an ecological imbalance. A mix of function helps to compensate for social problems and the mix of type and age of people strengthens the community as a whole. This research design project challenges the current status quo in regards to the Auckland planning regime, as well as housing designs, and aiming at achieving social interaction and community integration to fulfil the human desire for a sense of belonging, through quality urban solutions and architectural designs. Through research it becomes apparent that housing is more than just architecture; it needs to engage with both the urban issues and the community in order to develop neighbourliness. The possibilities for the courtyard housing typology in the Auckland urban context have been tested through the processes of ‘research for design’ and ‘research by design’. This research showed that the typology has the potential to increase urban density and to provide for security and privacy.