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Title: Large dwellings in Flanders. Development of architectural and users strategies in view of demographic trends and ecological constraints
Authors: Van de Weijer, Marijn 
Issue Date: 2012
Source: EAHN Second International Meeting, Brussels, Belgium, May 31 - June 2, 2012
Abstract: This poster aims to present the ongoing research project ‘Large, Underused Dwellings in Flanders’, with a specific focus on the third track of the project, inquiring into the architectural typologies which make up the built environment in Flanders, Belgium. About 76% of the Flemish housing stock consists of single family houses, of which a large part are detached dwellings in a semi-rural or suburban environment. To live in such a dwelling in these green, low density neighbourhoods is still indicated by many as the most desired solution to fulfil their housing aspirations. However, the model has been caught up by demographic developments (such as ageing, and a shrinking average household) socio-economical (housing costs) and ecological constraints (high emissions related to heating and mobility). This research track inquires into the inertia of this part of this housing stock in the light of these challenges. We inquire why the housing model is so obdurate, both as a physical situation and as a psychological/ economical construct of dwellers, politicians and housing professionals. This track within the project is structured by the following research questions: With regard to the housing model consisting of large, detached dwellings in a low density environment, what are the most fundamental aspirations of involved stakeholders (like inhabitants, professionals and in government bodies)? How are (common) architectural strategies – aimed at developing the housing stock in line with demographical developments (more diversity/density) – regarded by these stakeholders? How do these evaluations relate to personal perception, locality and the architectural object? What alliances and paradoxes exist between these interests? How can the architectural design process respond to these alliances and paradoxes, in order to address the perceived mismatch between housing stock and housing need? 1. This primarily involves an analysis of common detached dwelling neighbourhoods across the Flemish territory; based on statistical data, analysed in the geographic track of the research, 10 municipalities have been , 2. built after the Second World War, mostly between 1960 and 1980. As such, we inquire how these dwellings have served the housing needs through time, how they have been adapted to changing standards and requirements, and what potential they have to be transformed in the future, in line with contemporary societal needs. 3. The goal of this research track is to come to the proposition of design strategies which are directed at (internationally situated) issues of sprawl and low density, and which are able to implement an architecture for change in this complex field of contradictive stakes and inert urban and architectural structures.
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Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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