Housing in a city 2, abstracts
SEBASTIAN NIEMANN, GÉRALD LEDENT (Université Catholique de Louvain – Faculté d'architecture Bruxelles, Belgium): Housing – Work – Territory, spatial and social structures of agricultural and mining settlements in Northern France
Being part of a PHD research on the typology of mining settlements in Northern France, this study focuses on the relation of housing, work and territory in the preindustrial agriculture and the early mining era. It addresses the question, how the spatial and social structures of housing and work are influenced by the territory and its characteristics.
While there is an important body of research covering both agricultural (or rural) and mining settlements, these studies focus either on one or the other subject. By producing and comparing architectural drawings of both types in three scales (territory, settlement, building), we intend to fill this observed gap. This study reveals that, in agricultural and mining societies, the housing types are clearly linked to work through territory, which provides the basis for the respective socio-economic system: While the first tills the surface and depends on the accessibility of water, the second literally digs deeper and is based on the quantity and quality of coal fields.
In both cases, the spatial structures like the localisation and disposition of settlements highly depend on the soil. Concerning the social structures, the exploitation of this soil defines the society outside and inside of the household.
Agricultural and mining settlements both display a specific and singular relationship of housing and work, of which the territory seems to be the determinant common ground. The territory, namely its geological features, can thus be depicted as a profound and nearly timeless identity for regional cultures, providing consistency through socio-economic transformations.
This hypothesis offers a new strategy to be put to benefit for the ongoing transformations of our current socio-economic model. Consequently, the relation of housing, work and territory becomes a major tool in the change towards a post-carbon society. In the deindustrialised zones of Northern France, renovating this relationship provides a new lever for prosperity and sustainability.
Keywords: typology studies, housing for agriculture and mining, city and society, changes towards sustainability
ELIZABETH DONOVAN (Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark): Shifting sustainable communities: from rural eco-villages to urban sustainable communities
Sustainable architecture has transcended from small-scale rural experiments to conventional urban high-rises within the second half of the twenty-first century. Up until 1990, many sustainable projects were often rural or suburban, while, after this period, many designers began attempting to implement sustainability in larger scale urban buildings. This transition has not always been successful, with many designs not able to translate these small niece principals into larger scales. Further, there was often a significant up-scale from detached housing to high-rise office without a middle ground between these two extremes to test different methods or approaches. Despite this, with numerous public subsidies, many attempted the challenge of successfully translating the knowledge and principles from these projects to urban settings. Another obstacle was how to implement early approaches into contemporary building regulations and policies. What often resulted were projects which focused on one or two strategies, such as principles from low-energy technology or those that had been grass-roots inspired. Another consequence of these early rural projects was the developed stigma that sustainable architecture is ugly, with hippy connotations and this remains despite there now being as many, if not more ‘conventional’ urban examples of sustainable architecture than rural.
The documentation and influence of this shift from rural to urban is the main focus of this paper. In which the collection of around 150 examples are categorised and analysed through visual content analysis to understand the relationship between a series of categories including site, location, relationship to nature, level of technology integration, form, mass, transparency, symmetry, sustainable elements and façade materials. Findings show that there are direct connections between the different categories and the location of a project, indicating that there are many lessons which can be explored to produce more sustainable housing for our growing urban populations.
Keywords: shifting communities, urbanisation, sustainable architecture, eco-villages
RANJA HAUTAMÄKI, MARI ARILUOMA (Aalto University, Finland): From objectives to impacts – promoting urban green by the Green Factor method
While various sustainability assessment methods are available for urban planning, Green Factor (GF) is one of the few that promotes urban green on residential yards. It has previously been applied in Germany, Sweden and Finland and many new Finnish cities are planning to test it. The GF has the potential to install a wide range of nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change, manage storm water and increase biodiversity in the city. The tool can be easily linked to urban planning regulations by transforming green elements into a computational format and setting a target level to be reached in the green planning of the plots.
The GF is a promising tool, but it has essential unsolved questions. Numerous expectations are set for the tool, but there is a lack of follow-up research, which would clearly demonstrate its efficiency. This is the starting point for our study which has two goals: we aim to define the objectives set for the tool and reflect on how to assess its outcomes and impacts. The paper is based on a workshop arranged in May 2018 and an ongoing collaboration project with municipalities.
The study shows that planners have positive expectations of the benefits of the GF. However, the objectives are seldom elaborated or evaluated afterwards. The improved quality of green spaces and enhanced storm water management may seem evident impacts of using green factor tool but biodiversity and climate change adaptation are far more complicated. The paper also shows that the up-scaling of the GF has been understudied. Even if single yards may have a limited impact on sustainability, the up-scaling and wider application of the tool may significantly increase the impacts.
Keywords: green factor tool, nature-based solutions, assessment
JONNA TAEGEN, IRA VERMA (Aalto University, Finland): Participative approach for developing areas with shrinking population
Finland has in total 311 municipalities (1.1.2019). According to the statistics, until the year 2040 the population will decrease in 208 of these municipalities. At the same time, the population is ageing and the demographic dependency ratio is getting weaker. The shrinkage has a negative impact on housing, infrastructure, local economy and for the image of the municipality.
The aim of this research is to describe, analyse and develop urban planning and building design concepts to improve the vitality of the areas with shrinking population. The research questions are: How to increase and maintain the vitality of the areas with decreasing population? How to promote sustainable services, infrastructure and shared use of resources in municipalities with shrinking economy?
The research is carried out with a participative action research method, where policymakers, entrepreneurs and residents are developing together concepts for the specific area. The interaction between the participants and the researcher generates new knowledge and understanding which enables the creation of innovative solutions.
The ongoing project contains five case studies in municipalities with less than 20 000 inhabitants. The existing buildings and service structures are analysed and the development potentials will be identified in collaboration with local stakeholders. Residents, employees and entrepreneurs are engaged into the development process through questionnaires and discussion forums. For each municipality, a student in architecture will provide an urban planning or building design solution based on local context. The comparative analyses of the municipal structures will be completed in the Sotera Institute.
The results of the research will help to understand how different parties act in shrinking municipalities and how they face the loss of population. The project will develop models and processes for shrinking municipalities to improve their service delivery and housing to keep these areas attractive to live in also in the future.
Keywords: participative process, rural shrinkage, housing, urban planning