Paper presented at the XXXIII IAHS World Congress on Housing, 27-30 September 2005,"Transforming Housing Environments through Design", University of Pretoria.
Anne Thorne Architects Partnership is a practice established in 1991. Our work looks at the production of economic solutions for social housing and for infrastructure, with particular reference to women’s lives in their role as carers and in the Public realm. The practice primarily explores the nature of women’s lives in London. Recent work includes sustainable new timber frame housing in breathing wall construction and refurbishment of housing where we have reduced fuel bills by 50%. However, experience has taught us resolution of technical issues is secondary to people’s perception and experience of home and environs as a place of safety. Women are curtailed by the perception of danger within their environment far more than men even though statistically crime figures show men at higher risk outside the home. This paper explores the importance of housing and its context to women’s lives, as carers of the young, the elderly, disabled and part time paid workers. These roles remain predominantly with women throughout the world - how does this inhibit women’s participation in public life? If women are to participate after work and particularly in the hours of darkness. Our work on the urban regeneration of a large social housing area in London established the importance of location of facilities such as schools, places for the care of the elderly and their proximity to home. Our work on a green toolkit for the Greater London Authority, considers access to parks and recreation particularly important for the health of the nation as cities become denser. With the designs of towns and cities throughout the world catering for growing housing need - how can this be incorporated to ensure that development empowers low-income families, particularly women headed households that are generally the poorest?
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