Often those people who most need to access social housing are the ones who are disproportionately marginalised. The research approach adopted by the team meant that currently underrepresented voices in construction are not only heard, but their needs and values are embedded into the way homes are designed and built going forward.
The interviews during the consultation were designed to ensure good representation across the different stakeholder groups. Of the 26 interviews carried out:
- 7 were with housing association representatives
- 9 were with designers/architects
- 10 were with social housing residents with an even gender split and included those with reduced mobility or who were visually impaired
The matrix addresses residents’ health in two values: Physical Health and Mental Health. For example, Physical Health can be achieved by addressing value creators such as air quality, thermal comfort, natural light or outdoor space. In turn, a value creator like natural light can be achieved through design factors such as orientation, window size, interior layout, or floor to ceiling height.
The priorities for users and tenants of social housing (pride, safety, relatedness, sense of community) were shown to differ to a large extent from those of the social-housing providers and design teams (wellbeing, safety). The team is now conducting research with housing provider Thirteen Group to improve their built stock by prioritising the aspects that lead to a higher wellbeing.
The value-based decision making from this project is key to successful levelling up.
Incorporating people's current and future needs and aspirations into the design and construction of social housing will have a significant impact on individual's and families’ relationships with the wider community and their contribution to society in terms of social responsibility.
For example, the research showed that 'pride' was the most important occupant value above safety, privacy, and wellbeing. This shows that the issue of stigmatisation associated with social housing is still very much present in a resident's mind and needs to be considered in the design and maintenance of social housing, by providing quality housing that can help tenants integrate with their local communities.