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Housing for nuclear and single parent families : a comparison by two methods



Graduation date: 1991The vast majority of housing in the United States today has been\ud created to conform to a family definition that does not match current\ud demographic realities. The "traditional family" - a married couple with\ud an employed husband, a homemaker wife, and several children has been\ud the model family that housing designers have strived to accommodate on a\ud grand scale since at least the mid-1940's. This type of family,\ud however, comprises only 10% of all American families; the remaining 90%,\ud despite being a majority, have had their housing needs ignored. One\ud family group often considered to be non-traditional and often left out\ud of housing considerations is the single parent family. This family type\ud is an established household form in the United States; currently nearly\ud one third of all American families are single parent families, most of\ud which are headed by women.\ud During the past few years housing projects have begun to appear\ud that are designed to house "non-traditional families" such as single\ud parent families. It has been generally assumed that the spatial needs\ud of single parent families are different from those of nuclear families\ud or the "traditional family". This research will focus on the analysis\ud of housing as designed for single parent families in comparison to\ud housing as designed for the American nuclear family. Floor plans of the\ud two housing types were obtained from the following cities: Denver, CO,\ud Hayward, CA, Providence, RI, and Minneapolis, MN.\ud The intent of this study is to examine what, if any, differences\ud occur in the spatial orientation of housing designed for single parent\ud families and housing designed for the nuclear family: the single family\ud detached home. The study examined room layout in relation to use and\ud commonly accepted social function. Two methods of analysis were\ud employed: gamma analysis as developed by Hillier and Hanson and\ud annotated analysis developed specifically for this research. The method\ud of gamma analysis was used to determine if the housing as designed for\ud the two family types is different in form and social function, while the\ud annotated analysis was used to measure the "fit" of the housing for each\ud of the family types.\ud It was originally expected that the single parent family dwellings\ud would exhibit a higher degree of integration than the single family\ud detached homes based on predictions gleaned form the literature.\ud However, the gamma analysis revealed a lower mean relative asymmetry\ud value for the single family detached houses (0.308), indicating a higher\ud degree of integration, than the mean relative asymmetry value for the\ud single parent family dwellings (0.368). This difference was not found\ud to be significant (p = 0.276). The annotated analysis results indicated\ud single family detached houses scored a better fit to their intended\ud family type (mean annotated analysis score = 0.638) than did the single\ud parent family dwellings to their intended family type (mean annotated\ud analysis score = 0.533). Again, this difference was not found to be\ud significant (p = 0.385).\ud The findings of this study provide a glimpse at the interior\ud spatial arrangements of housing as designed for the two family types in\ud question. While the results of the two analysis methods seems to\ud indicate that the interior spatial arrangement of housing is not meeting\ud the needs of either family type, more research should be conducted to\ud further substantiate the findings. These findings will be of interest\ud to designers of homes, housing developers, planners and policy makers,\ud and researchers in the field of housing, all of whom can have an effect\ud on the shape of the housing environment and can help make it more\ud suitable for all family types

Year: 1991
OAI identifier: oai:ir.library.oregonstate.edu:1957/38090
Provided by: ScholarsArchive@OSU

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