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Integrated Social Habitats: Enhancing Social Spaces for Future Urban Multi-family Residential Dwellings

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Title:Integrated Social Habitats: Enhancing Social Spaces for Future Urban Multi-family Residential Dwellings
Authors:Abinsay, Amber
Contributors:Clifford, Janine (advisor)
Architecture (department)
Date Issued:May 2012
Abstract:As I look back at my family’s lifestyle within a mid-rise apartment in Honolulu, I realize that the social relationships we have had with our neighbors over the last twenty years could have been stronger. Although it would be unrealistic to think that we would bond with every family in the six-story building complex, the only opportunity we had to engage in conversation with the families that were friendly and neighborly towards us was when we encountered each other in the parking lot elevator, or hallways leading to our apartment door. It was unlikely that one family would invite another into their apartment due to awkwardness and the potential loss of privacy. It is ironic that neighbors living in such close proximity would be so unsociable with one another. A simple solution that would have allowed our family to engage in social interaction with other families is the provision of a shared space dedicated to social activities that all residents could access. Although it is not guaranteed that every resident would utilize such a space, it would provide an opportunity for people to slowly establish and nurture relationships with others based on various factors such as personality characteristics and commonalities. It would be easy to suggest to an architect to designate a communal space on each floor in a residential dwelling. However, how successful can that space be if the residents on that floor barely use it because they are more focused on moving quickly from point A (car) to point B (apartment)? The so-called communal space would be dead, wasted space. How can architects design such a space so that it becomes a well-utilized, flourishing space for social interaction? This research paper maintains that these social spaces, rather than the apartment units, should become the focal points of the residential communities in mid-rise and high-rise buildings. The purpose of this research paper is to study the value of social interaction in our everyday lives and precedents that provide such social activities today. Correlational research and analysis is implemented to compare and contrast various types of social spaces in existing residential urban dwellings and the public realm. Design guidelines for the physical framework of future social spaces, specifically within urban residential low-rise, mid-rise, and high-rise dwellings, are provided. The second half of this research paper applies these design guidelines on a mixed-use residential housing prototype in a unique setting within the urban context of Honolulu, Hawaii. Computer-aided, three-dimensional modeling and simulation are used to discover various spatial solutions that can possibly nurture social interaction within the residential setting. The ultimate goal of this research paper is to introduce new thought and design processes for future urban residential dwellings. The design guidelines presented in this body of research encourage a more socially interactive lifestyle for residents and the general public.
Pages/Duration:188 pages
Appears in Collections: 2012

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