Community architecture : myth and reality
Author(s)Mongold, Neal J. (Neal Joseph)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis examines the origins and the claims of the community architecture movement. Community architecture, which has recently attracted considerable professional attention in the U.K., is a movement that argues for the importance of user involvement in the design, construction. and management of the environment. Many theoreticians see the movement as a reaction to the disastrous failures of modern architecture and planning schemes. The important lesson that community architects claim to have learned from these failures is that participation is a better process than anticipation with regard to the users and their environmental needs. Definitions of community architecture are often vaguely delimited, and can encompass other activities such as community planning, community development. community technical aid, and community landscaping. This study presents a summary of the "new" techniques used by community architects, and then explores the nature of the claims that such practitioners have made. Using five well-publicized case studies of community architecture. the following three fundamental claims are evaluated: a) User participation leads to greater user satisfaction. b) User participation is more economical, at least in the long-term. c) User participation produces psychological and sociological benefits. There is a lack of definitive proof as to the superiority of the community architecture method, although the experience thus far suggest that the p~rticipatory approach produces environments of equal merit as the results of a high quality nonparticipatory process. Since it seems that the objective benefits of community architecture may not, by themselves, justify the extra initial cost of the practice, the question of political implications and appeal is explored. Concern for the survival and growth of the movement has led some advocates to claim that community architecture is apolitcial. but this myth is refuted here. Finally, an attempt is made to understand what elements of community architecture are applicable to the context of the United States, and what changes would be necessary for housing groups to allow for user participation in design.
Thesis (M.S.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1988.Includes bibliographical references (leaf 67-70).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology