Housing Adaptability

Housing Adaptability

This special issue advances the understanding and implementation of housing adaptability and flexibility across a range of issues: spatial, social, environmental, economic, time and multi-use and multiuser adaptability.

The adaptability of our homes is a social, emotional and cultural issue as much as a technical or construction challenge. The need for housing adaptability and flexibility became apparent during the pandemic, when an increasing range of activities, such as working, studying, home-schooling, exercising etc., occurred in homes that were never designed for this purpose and thus ill-suited. However, the need for adaptability and flexibility is also necessary at other times during a building’s lifespan. Dwellings need to accommodate new working practices promoted by digitisation, or a changing demographic (ageing population, migration, fluctuation of household members).

Guest editors: Sofie Pelsmakers and Elanor Warwick

This special issue explores how to best adapt spaces to accommodate different and changing user needs (on a daily, seasonal, long term basis) and user generations. The papers in this special issue explore:

  • Concepts of adaptability and flexibility in housing and their implications
  • The potential for existing and new housing to become more adaptable over time
  • Drivers and barriers to implementing housing adaptability
  • How residents may overcome unadaptable spaces
  • The benefits and unintended consequences
  • What shapes inhabitants’ needs, perceptions and expectations for adaptable spaces

The papers in this special issue challenge policymakers, planners, clients, developers and designers to make new and existing dwellings more adaptable. This special issue makes clear both the needs and benefits that accrue from providing adaptability in housing. Moreover, it is financially viable to do so. When embarking on retrofitting strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from the housing stock, it would be wise and cost-effective to include adaption in retrofit programmes. But there is an equal justification for making the housing stock more widely adaptable – especially given the decreasing size of dwellings and changing nature of work and education. A home’s adaptive capacity supports an individual’s and community’s resilience when faced with different life events and their associated disruptions and consequences.

Table of contents

Housing adaptability: new research, emerging practices & challenges (Editorial)
S. Pelsmakers & E. Warwick

Sharing a home under lockdown in London
F.  Blanc & K. Scanlon

Adapting owner-occupied dwellings in the UK: lessons for the future
T. Hipwood

Architects’ ‘enforced togetherness’: new design affordances of the home
E. Marco, M. Tahsiri, D.  Sinnett & S. Oliveira

Inclusive Living: ageing, adaptations and future-proofing home
V. McCall

Balconies as adaptable spaces in apartment housing
T. Peters & S. Masoudinejad

The use of apartment balconies: context, design and social norm
M. Smektała & M. Baborska-Narożny

Residents’ views on adaptable housing: a virtual reality-based study
J. Tarpio & S. Huuhka

Lack of adaptability in Brazilian social housing: impacts on residents
S.B. Villa, P.B. Vasconcellos,  K.C.R.  de Bortoli, & L.B. de Araujo


Housing Adaptability: Some Past Lessons
A. Rabeneck

Key Lessons for Adaptable Housing
F. Holliss

Latest Peer-Reviewed Journal Content

Journal Content

Heat stress: adaptation measures in South African informal settlements
J M Hugo

The urban expansion of Berlin, 1862–1900: Hobrecht’s Plan
F Bentlin

Common sources of occupant dissatisfaction with workspace environments in 600 office buildings
T Parkinson, S Schiavon, J Kim & G Betti

Urban growth in peri- urban, rural and urban areas: Mexico City
G M Cruz-Bello, J M Galeana-Pizaña & S González-Arellano

Overcoming the incumbency and barriers to sustainable cooling
J Lizana, N D Miranda, L Gross, A Mazzone, F Cohen, G Palafox-Alcantar, P Fahr, A Jani, R Renaldi, M Mcculloch & R Khosla

Assessing climate action progress of the City of Toronto
K R Slater, J Ventura, J B Robinson, C Fernandez, S Dutfield & L King

Meeting urban GHG reduction goals with waste diversion: multi-residential buildings
V MacLaren, E Ikiz & E Alfred

Climate action in urban mobility: personal and political transformations
G Hochachka, K G Logan, J Raymond & W Mérida

Transformational climate action at the city scale: comparative South–North perspectives
D Simon, R Bellinson & W Smit

Stretching or conforming? Financing urban climate change adaptation in Copenhagen
S Whittaker & K Jespersen

Embodied carbon emissions in buildings: explanations, interpretations, recommendations
T Lützkendorf & M Balouktsi

Pathways to improving the school stock of England towards net zero
D Godoy-Shimizu, S M Hong, I Korolija, Y Schwartz, A Mavrogianni & D Mumovic

Urban encroachment in ecologically sensitive areas: drivers, impediments and consequences
M H Andreasen, J Agergaard, R Y Kofie, L Møller-Jensen & M Oteng-Ababio

Towards sufficiency and solidarity: COP27 implications for construction and property
D Ness

Local decarbonisation opportunities and barriers: UK public procurement legislation
K Sugar, T M Mose, C Nolden, M Davis, N Eyre, A Sanchez-Graells & D Van Der Horst

Integrating climate change and urban regeneration: success stories from Seoul
J Song & B Müller

Canadian cities: climate change action and plans
Y Herbert, A Dale & C Stashok

Energy, emerging technologies and gender in homes [editorial]
Y Strengers, K Gram-Hanssen, K Dahlgren & L Aagaard

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