chapter  7
Experiential knowledge as a component of housing quality Case study: Cultivating influence through disabled people’s
Pages 25

There can be no dichotomy between good design and usable design or between beauty and function in architecture.

(Sommer, 1972: 4)

As previous chapters have intimated, the conventional understanding of housing quality, which conceives of housing as a physical structure and system, ought to be extended to incorporate an understanding of housing as a multidimensional and complex process – what Habraken (1972) and Rapoport (1977) refer to as ‘dwelling’ (see also Norberg-Schulz, 1985; King, 1996). An important dimension of the processes that underpin the constitution of dwelling relates to the users and/or occupiers. As Goodchild (1997: 60) comments, ‘good practice in housing design may be understood as a process of empathy with the users’ (see also Luck et al., 2001). Likewise, Callado (1995: 1666) notes that the crux of housing quality is the issue of usability of dwellings or, as he suggests, whatever the physical or technical standards of dwellings ‘they may all come to nothing should there be any limitation on the usability of space’.