Housing is a key factor in social well-being and should be the subject of a new approach to project design which places societal transformation on the same level as statutory transformations. The wealth of regulatory standards in recent years, mainly concerned with accessibility and environmental aspects, has led to a mass of standardised products unsuited to the diversity of lifestyles and household incomes, and lacking in quality of use.
Housing must, most importantly, be readdressed to cater for the current diverse range of family types. We can no longer rely on the traditional generic family model and housing design should reflect these changes. Inventive solutions will enable spaces to evolve and adapt in an elastic way in parallel with the life of inhabitants.
It is also important to place quality of use and living high on the list of design priorities. In a majority of households, as a result of economic constraints, space is often very restricted, and insufficient for inhabitants’ needs, to the point where it is becoming necessary to propose internal and external communal areas in addition to, and as an extension of, private spaces. Today it is necessary to consider an apartment and adjoining areas and interfaces as a whole, and to propose wider thresholds between the public and private domains, and a treatment of rooftops, ground floor areas, and other uninhabitable areas. Richer and more generous interiors and better services can be achieved by means of creative thinking about typology and uses assigned to spaces, thus rebuilding a sense of community and creating social ties. Each family’s intimacy is preserved whilst being enriched by a greater sense of community.