Spaces for differences: dwelling after deinstitutionalization

Ana Paula Baltazar (School of Architecture, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Silke Kapp (School of Architecture, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Augustin de Tugny (School of Arts, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Juarez Pereira Furtado (Department of Health, Education and Society, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Santos, Brazil)


ISSN: 0263-2772

Publication date: 28 June 2013



The purpose of this paper is to report on the point of view of architecture of an interdisciplinary research on housing and social integration of people with severe mental disorder (SMD) in Brazil after deinstitutionalization. It first aims to present the need for a qualitative evaluation of the way people with SMD deal with their living spaces (house and city); then to describe the method adopted to approach people living under control – in therapeutic residential services (SRTs) proposed by the State as the only alternative model for those leaving psychiatric institutions – and people living alone – with little psychiatric assistance and no dwelling support provided by the State. It aims to conclude with a discussion of the observed dwellings pointing towards the need to accommodate differences in any housing model adopted by the State.


The qualitative evaluation enabled the focus of participant observation on the way people interact with each other and with their living space. The authors followed the routines of chosen people with SMD in three different cities in Brazil and provided reports for the whole group to analyze them.


It was found that those living in SRTs are much more obstructed by institutional control than those living alone. Despite the difficulties and fragilities of those living alone because of the lack of support, they end with more possibilities for autonomy and social integration.


Most research on the subject approaches objective housing issues focusing on statistical results. This research evaluates qualitative dwelling issues, summarizing little pointers for future health policy on housing for people with SMD.



Baltazar, A., Kapp, S., de Tugny, A. and Pereira Furtado, J. (2013), "Spaces for differences: dwelling after deinstitutionalization", Facilities, Vol. 31 No. 9/10, pp. 407-417.

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