Adaptability of apartments- A bottom up concern: Two narratives of life course spatial adaptability
Kapitel i bok, 2020
The ongoing demographic transformation calls for dwelling solutions with a wide capacity to host diverse dwelling needs for the present as well as for the future. Adaptable apartments can, in this context, be one step towards more sustainable design solutions, but adaptable design solutions have a relatively small role in the current Swedish dwelling design context. Focus is instead on function-defined rooms and rational and small apartments, with a “mobility with changed spatial needs” concept, where the household is expected to move when the living situation changes. The direction taken today towards small rational apartments is well motivated as it promotes affordable dwellings, but critical social qualities are at the same time endangered. The research findings presented in this chapter, based on a qualitative interview study, show that adaptable space can provide vital support in family life course processes. It enables people to remain in their neighborhood and to preserve valuable social qualities. It can also increase the opportunities to exercise more influence over the planning and future transformation of a household’s living situation. But what can be regarded as more extraordinary is the household’s strong incentive to stay in the apartment and use the space available in whatever way they can to adapt it to their changing spatial needs. Adaptable dwelling space becomes a bottom-up concern not sufficiently attended to by residential design practice.