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

Latest Peer-Reviewed Journal Content

Journal Content

Implications of urban expansion: land, planning and housing in Lagos
B Oyalowo

Technological fascination and reluctance: gendered practices in the smart home
L K Aagaard & L V Madsen

Attuning smart home scripts to household and energy care
D Chambers

Modern methods of construction: reflections on the current research agenda [editorial]
S D Green

Masculine roles and practices in homes with photovoltaic systems
M Mechlenborg & K Gram-Hanssen

Brokering Gender Empowerment in Energy Access in the Global South
A Schiffer, M Greene, R Khalid, C Foulds, C A Vidal, M Chatterjee, S Dhar-Bhattacharjee, N Edomah, O Sule, D Palit & A N Yesutanbul

Housing adaptability: new research, emerging practices and challenges [editorial]
S Pelsmakers & E Warwick

Living in an Active Home: household dynamics and unintended consequences
F Shirani, K O’Sullivan, K Henwood, R Hale & N Pidgeon

Institutionalisation of urban climate adaptation: three municipal experiences in Spain
M Olazabal & V Castán Broto

Energy housekeeping: intersections of gender, domestic labour and technologies
R Martin

Speculation beyond technology: building scenarios through storytelling
R M Dowsett, M S Green & C F Harty

Professional judgement: an institutional logic approach to contractor tender pricing
D Jefferies & L Schweber

Emerging technologies’ impacts on ‘man caves’ and their energy demand
Y Strengers, K Dahlgren & L Nicholls

The gender of smart charging
S Pink

Fire performance and regulatory considerations with modern methods of construction
B J Meacham

Who cares? How care practices uphold the decentralised energy order
K Lucas-Healey, H Ransan- Cooper, H Temby & A W Russell

Alternatives to air-conditioning: policies, design, technologies, behaviours [editorial]
B Ford, D Mumovic & R Rawal

Benchmarking energy performance: indicators and models for Dutch housing associations
H S van der Bent, H J Visscher, A Meijer & N Mouter

Emissions from a net-zero building in India: life cycle assessment
M Jain & R Rawal

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

Participation in domestic energy retrofit programmes: key spatio- temporal drivers
E Mohareb, A Gillich & D Bristow

Embodied carbon of concrete in buildings, Part 2: are the messages accurate?
A Moncaster, T Malmqvist, T Forman, F Pomponi & J Anderson

An alternative approach to delivering safe, sustainable surgical theatre environments
C A Short, A W Woods, L Drumright, R Zia & N Mingotti

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

Integrating low energy cooling & ventilation strategies in Indian residences
M J Cook, Y Shukla, R Rawal, C Angelopoulos, L Caruggi-De-Faria, D Loveday, E Spentzou, & J Patel

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

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