Paper presented at the XXXIII IAHS World Congress on Housing, 27-30 September 2005,"Transforming Housing Environments through Design", University of Pretoria.
ABSTRACT: The house is such a universal satisfier for human needs that in general discourse people tend to speak of the need for housing. This paper develops a conceptual framework that uses the distinction between needs and satisfiers to analyse the complex variety of ways in which a house facilitates the actualisation of human needs. The categorisation of human needs proposed by Manfred Max-Neef is used as a basis for the analysis. It is argued that the needs theory of Manfred Max-Neef that links quality of life to the actualisation of all human needs rather than a hierarchy of needs could help to contribute to the conceptual foundation necessary for designers to transform environments to become more human. Implications of a non-hierarchical needs theory for housing design are given. In conclusion the authors briefly discuss two tools they have developed: the first tool is used to assess the general quality of life of a person and the second tool to analyse the specific impact of a housing development and/or design on quality of life in the household environment. The value of the methodology is demonstrated by drawing on research recently done by the authors themselves in eMbalenhle in Mpumalanga, South Africa.
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