Significance of boundary conditions towards sustainable housing strategies
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Abstract. Background: For developing nations the development of sustainable communities has to go hand in hand with the achievement of wider goals, where emphasis has to be given to the importance of lifestyle and social change. This inter- disciplinary research draws understanding from the social, cultural and economic studies to define the values and aspirations of the middle class and the associated implications for sustainable housing. Middle-class mores are aspirational and aim to achieve Western living standards, moving away from a traditional communitarian social model. Methods and Results: This research presents the results of extensive fieldwork in the Southern-Indian city of Mysore that defines the values held by the emergent middle class in respect to the built environment. Common areas and shared spaces have traditionally been very actively used and have played a crucial role in both passive cooling strategies and the maintenance of socially sustainable communities. Fieldwork shows that attitudes to the built environment are polarised between well-maintained and protected housing interiors and poorly organised and maintained external spaces and examines how these transition spaces are used to reflect these values and concerns. Possible options for the external boundary conditions are tested by generating 3D models and applying an environmental design method, Inte- grated Environmental Solutions (IES). Conclusion: The paper reflects on whether earlier traditions in sustainable building design in South Asia (Mysore) have relevance in a contemporary context and the importance of understanding the changing preferences and values of the newly affluent demographic.
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