Sustainable housing: An integrated method toward housing planning, design, and construction
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The main purpose of this dissertation is to develop an integrated approach to sustainable housing development, which would be applied in both academic studios and professional practice. This approach is based upon the concept of sustainability encountered in the process of building efficiency. Sustainable housing provides a high degree of variability and adaptability due to the flexibility of the space design and the method of construction system. Contrary to conventional housing in practice, this approach is designed on an indeterminate basis, the objective of which is to optimize the cost in the potential application of the approach. It is concerned with the basic identification of problems and needs, the setting of design goals, and the constraints under which the future design and construction will have to operate. The components of the design approach focus on: (1) the analysis of basic space needs of users in dwelling units; (2) the identification of architectural characteristics of the dwelling units influencing the cost of the housing construction; (3) the cost-effective design and construction methods; and (4) dwelling unit or housing in relation with its living environment. The basic needs, which concern functional, economic, environmental and socio-cultural factors, are determined in order to formulate the basic properties of a dwelling space. Then, the unit cost factors, which include form, composition and the service core, are identified as dwelling space constraints. Finally, cost-effective methods, as an integrating stage, are proposed. This design process is applied to the United States as a case study. After the investigation and analysis of a sample of conventional American house plans, the design variables on functional elements, range of space dimensions, and space structure patterns are determined. After applying the unit cost factors to the possible space arrangements, six optimal design solutions are produced. In order to determine the space dimensions to minimize construction, a computer program is designed. Finally, this study provides five cost-effective design examples which are based on a set of manufactured system. The results suggest that this method provides a design tool for an efficient housing development. As the final stage of the design process, this study provides application strategies for other areas which have their own socio-cultural backgrounds. For future sustainable housing development, planning considerations, innovative land use methods and strategies are provided to minimize overall housing costs and to provide effective incentives. The major contribution of this study is the presentation of criteria that are obtained from the cost-effective design method, which will serve as a guide in producing cost-efficient housing. The second contribution is the development of a flexible design process, manufactured construction methods and residential planning guidelines that can also be used for providing a wide range of housing in other regions with different own socio-cultural backgrounds.