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Towards Affordability: Maximising Use Value in Low-Income Housing

Dina Shehayeb (Institute for Architecture and Housing Research Housing and Building National Research Centre, Egypt)
Peter Kellett (Global Urban Research Unit School of Architecture Planning and Landscape University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Open House International

ISSN: 0168-2601

Article publication date: 1 September 2011



Much research into housing concentrates on the dwelling as a place of shelter for the household, as a unit to accommodate basic domestic activities or as an asset to secure and facilitate social reproduction. However, the dwelling is more than an enclosed private space; it involves a diversity of indoor and outdoor spaces that house a multitude of activities to fulfil latent functions and meanings. The scarcer the resources of the residents, the more critical it is to maximize the use-value of the home environment, and key ways to add value is for the dwelling to become a place to house income generating activities, a place to produce one's food or a place to accommodate changes in household structure over time. In such cases, public and private space use within the home range is intensified through multiple usage, often changing diurnally or seasonally to afford the occupants increased adaptability and maximum use value. Drawing upon empirical data from Egypt, Colombia and Indonesia, this paper proposes a conceptual framework to analyse the diverse manifestations of this phenomena and to identify lessons for designers and policy makers concerned with making housing more appropriate and affordable.



Shehayeb, D. and Kellett, P. (2011), "Towards Affordability: Maximising Use Value in Low-Income Housing", Open House International, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 85-96.



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