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Post occupancy and participatory design evaluation of a marginalized low-income settlement in Ahmedabad, India

Post occupancy and participatory design evaluation of a marginalized low-income settlement in... BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 2022, VOL. 50, NO. 5, 574–594 https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2021.2018286 Post occupancy and participatory design evaluation of a marginalized low- income settlement in Ahmedabad, India a b Tania Sharmin and Rihab Khalid a b Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK; Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 30 July 2021 This paper presents a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) of a participatory design project for a Accepted 8 December 2021 marginalized low-income community in Ahmedabad, India. Through a mixed-methods socio- technical approach, it presents an in-depth qualitative assessment of the architectural design KEYWORDS and homeowners’ use of and satisfaction with domestic spaces. Analysis shows that although a Post-occupancy evaluation; participatory design approach can lead to improved user satisfaction, it can have contradictory participatory design; low- environmental and sustainability outcomes in low-income communities due to homeowner’s income housing; end-users’ limited environmental awareness, aspirations for improved social standing, and financial satisfaction; Global South constraints. Findings show that combining POE with participatory design can help recognize occupants’ housing needs while also revealing various hierarchical agencies in participation and power dynamics within the built environment. It further substantiates the need for a socio- technical approach in POE that integrates environmental standards with occupants’ contextual socio-cultural needs and incorporates plans for future socio-economic growth, while providing assessment of the design process itself and engagement with various stakeholders. The study shows that successful Building Performance Evaluations (BPE) should incorporate bottom-up participation through incremental, and affordable demonstration projects in housing developments that take account of localized socio-cultural contexts and allow more inclusive development through stakeholder integration for long-term sustainable transitions. Introduction designed by architects, and almost never incorporate Sustainable, affordable, and adequate housing provision users in the design process. Under massive economic is among the United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Devel- and development challenges faced in housing provision, opment Goals (SDGs) and critical to meet climate architectural design characteristics are often neglected change targets across the SDGs. Yet, according to the and compromised, with the common standpoint that UN (2019), over one billion people (23.5% of total ‘with a problem so urgent and widespread, why even dis- urban population in 2018) live in inadequate slums or cuss architecture?’ (Davis, 1995). Most government informal settlements, predominantly in the Global endeavours in low-income or subsidized housing tra- South, and up to three billion people will require access ditionally lack material and design interventions (Sen- to adequate and affordable housing by 2030. In most gupta, 2013) and are further compromised under developing countries, low-income housing design misconceptions of meeting minimum standards and receives little attention and slum redevelopment guide- basic shelter requirements, so as to be ‘basic, safe and lines remain an under-researched area (e.g. Bardhan clean – but no more’ (Davis, 1995). This results in (re)pro- et al., 2018; Garrefa et al., 2021; Nix et al., 2019). This ducing housing conditions that face ever greater chal- leads to poor quality housing, unstable structures, lenges of resilience under the combined threat of climate insufficient amenities and poor access to infrastructure change, economic crises and diminishing energy supply facilities that increase the social vulnerability and pre- (Stevenson et al., 2016). Apart from a lack of environ- carity of the poor (Garrefa et al., 2021; Li et al., 2021). mental considerations, such housing is also often devoid In India, a country that faces critical urbanization and of local socio-cultural considerations and practices (Kha- infrastructure development challenges under population lid and Sunikka-Blank, 2018). It is now increasingly recog- expansion, low-income houses are only occasionally nized that sustainable housing and energy transitions CONTACT Tania Sharmin SharminT@cardiff.ac.uk © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 575 require both technological and social intervention to meet user’s greater involvement often results in better manage- Climate Change targets (Shove et al., 2008)through an ment and maintenance of housing and neighbourhood integrated socio-technical approach in building design infrastructure and services (Sheng, 1990), resulting in and evaluation (Stevenson, 2019). decreased economic costs and increased usable life of Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) for such houses is buildings through regeneration processes (Carmon, 2002). rare, which further adds to the gap between estimated Many participatory frameworks have been developed design criteria and actual performance and user satisfac- in the literature that identify the extent of a community’s tion. To address these gaps, the paper draws on experi- control and decision-making in the design and develop- ences of a participatory design project for a low-income, ment process; for example, in relation to beneficiaries former leprosy-affected population, in Ahmedabad, (e.g. Michener, 1998a; Moser, 1989), types of stakeholders India. As part of the project, bespoke low-income involved (White, 1996), and the project levels or stages at houses were built by local architects, employed by a which participation occurs (Cohen and Uphoff, 1980). In local charity, in line with homeowners’ requirements. practice, the key difference is in whether participation is By conducting an in-depth qualitative analysis of the seen as a means or an end in development programmes participatory design process and by comparing and (Parfitt, 2004): successful participation requires a reconfi- evaluating the architectural design and homeowners’ guration of power between researchers/designers and perceptions of existing and co-designed houses, the end-users in a reciprocal relationship built on collective study investigates the various challenges and limitations learning (Boyle and Harris, 2009;Sheng, 1990). In this, of the project, as well as the successes achieved. Through participatory design complements building performance a socio-technical POE approach, the study seeks to evaluation (BPE) (Stevenson, 2019). Combining in- answer: (1) what are the various socio-technical charac- depth observation and end-user engagement during the teristics of homeowners’ satisfaction in different hous- design process with POEs provides better means of pro- ing types; (2) what insights can be gained from a duction, governance and maintenance (Garrefa et al., socio-technical POE of the low-income participatory 2021;Stevenson andPetrescu, 2016). design project; and (3) what are the implications for There exists a long history of participatory projects in designers and policy makers for future low-cost housing developing contexts that gained momentum in the using participatory design. Such questions are particu- 1970s under concerns for meeting the basic needs of larly relevant in the Indian context where obsolete con- the poor (Michener, 1998), particularly in the pro- struction technologies, and lack of innovation and motion of self-help housing and settlement upgrading evaluation in low-income housing are common. in developing countries (Carmon, 2002). In India, par- ticipatory development took root in the sixties through small-scale local initiatives and then up-scaled to the Literature review urban level by the eighties through several town plan- ning and development acts (Basu, 2016; Salamah, Participatory design in architecture 2021). By the twenty-first century, most federal govern- Participatory design presents an alternative approach to ment funding to states was linked to participatory pro- conventional architectural design by de-centralising and grammes (Basu, 2016). Recent initiatives like National democratizing the design process (Hester, 1987; Sanoff, Slum Development Programme and Jawahar Lal 2007, 1999) that includes professional ‘experts’,likearchi- Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) also include tects, builders and planners as well as citizens, such as participation (Basu, 2016). However, in most cases, par- homeowners, as the end-users. Co-production or partici- ticipation can often be limited to notifying affected citi- pation can help empower homeowners and end-users as zens or conducting consultations to manipulatively active agents towards meaningful and purposive adap- derive consensus towards a policy decision (Salamah, tation and change to their daily environment (Boyle and 2021). In this way, participatory processes can often Harris, 2009). Such positive outcomes informed by be instrumental (Basu, 2016), discriminatory (Haque, user’s involvement in participatory design are well-estab- 2018; Li et al., 2021), or tokenistic (Tiwari et al., 2021). lishedin theliterature(e.g. BoyleandHarris, 2009;Car- Further, numerous studies show that participation mon, 2002;Mubitaetal., 2017;Nix et al., 2019; Sanoff, alone cannot guarantee success, especially when riddled 2007;Sheng, 1990) and are associated with better under- with ambiguities in its relation to social development, standing of design based on user’s tacit knowledge (Spi- equality, and justice. For instance, lack of accountability nuzzi, 2005), improved democratic choice and social and resources can mean participation alone is insufficient capital (Carmon, 2002), and shared insights brought to improve the quality of life of the poorest of the poor about from group interaction (Sanoff, 1999). Further, (1998). Increasingly bureaucratic processes can also result 576 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID in institutionalizing participatory approaches under limit- explicitly stated performance criteria’ (p. 19). POE is ations of resources, expertise, manpower, local knowledge commonly used for acquiring feedback on a building’s and conflicting interests (Basu, 2016; Crook and Manor, performance in use, including energy and water assess- 1998). Hence, successful participatory housing design ments, indoor environment quality (IEQ), occupants’ requires integration with other reformative initiatives satisfaction, productivity, etc. (Li et al., 2018). Preiser such as change in housing and planning regulations to (1995) categorizes three distinct levels of POE: indica- improve flexibility, replacement of formal private market- tive, investigative, and diagnostic. Indicative POEs ization in lieu of pluralistic approaches and improved include short (several hours), walk-through evaluations access to materials and construction techniques (Keivani alongside stakeholder interviews, discussions with end- and Werna, 2001; Valladares, 2017). This is particularly users and photographic (and written) documentation of true for development landscapes rife with corporate- building performance. Investigative POEs include more and profit-driven projects, planners and processes that in-depth building investigation carried out over several undermine low-cost housing performance (Chaudhry weeks/months using questionnaire surveys and inter- et al., 2017;Miraftab, 2003; Salamah, 2021). Under such views with key stakeholders, photographic and video constraints, community participation can even perpetuate surveys and physical measurements. Diagnostic POEs negative consequences for the larger built environment. include more focused, longitudinal, and cross-sectional Further, participation in sensitive contexts requires care- evaluation of detailed performance criteria using com- ful negotiation as it can trigger latent conflicts through plex data gathering and analysis techniques over several the reallocation of resources, putting those most vulner- months or years. able at further risk (Jones and SPEECH, 2001;Neumann A more recent (established since 1990s) and and Bliss, 2008). advanced method for evaluating building performance Whilst most studies in the Indian context point to the is BPE. BPE is a methodical approach for assessing the constraints and challenges faced by participatory actual performance against expected performance approaches, some studies also highlight successes. For across the building’s life cycle through feedback and example, Nix et al. (2019) show that participatory action assessment at every stage of building, planning and research can be used to identify and prioritize low- occupancy (Gupta et al., 2019). While BPE provides a income occupants’ housing-related health concerns that more robust evaluation method, it presents challenges can lead to more reactive and responsive interventions. in terms of complex data collection and processing Their study shows that greater degrees of discussion required throughout the building’s lifecycle. Therefore and knowledge exchange were required with the commu- POE, which focuses on the in-use phase, proves useful nities to reconcile principal objectives with participants’ in investigating the building from its occupant’s per- needs, desires and limitations. Other studies (e.g. Jones spective. This is especially advantageous in cases and SPEECH, 2001) show that introducing participatory where both data and resources are limited to conduct action after building trust can help foster the commu- an extensive BPE or Diagnostic POE study, as is the nity’s localized knowledge into problem-solving and case in most developing countries. Likewise, POE at capacity building. Rather than an end-goal, participation an early-occupancy stage – as in this study – can be can be used to integrate conscientisation and develop- equally helpful in understanding various aspects of ment. Tiwari et al. (2021)propose a ‘middle-ground’ design to enable modification and improvement of approach to participatory planning for successful Indian future design decisions. slum upgradation. Building on existing models and past Despite being a standard practice, current POE experiences, the authors show that this approach allows studies have limitations. Few POE studies have assessed for adaptation to local organizational constraints, while the impact of architectural design on building occupants reflexively engaging in meaningful participation. A key or users (Pati and Pati, 2013). Systematic occupant takeaway from this review is that post-completion project responses from completed buildings are rarely sought assessment and evaluation are essential to determine the and received by design and construction professionals. success of participatory design. Systematic feedback can be crucial for improving build- ing performance (Sanni-Anibire et al., 2016) despite challenges in the ambiguity of how to use POE data to POE in low-income housing inform design decisions. Some POE studies have been POE is an assessment of newly constructed buildings or conducted to examine design innovations (Baborska- retrofits in existing buildings. Preiser (1995) describes Narozny et al., 2016; Kalantari and Snell, 2017), design POE as ‘the process of systematically comparing actual features for certain occupant groups (Wongbumru building performance, i.e. performance measures, with and Dewancker, 2016), or the design process of a project BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 577 (Grangaard and Ryhl, 2016), while some studies have perspectives and needs are typically overlooked attempted to inform future project refurbishment/ret- (Gupta et al., 2019). The limited BPE/ POE studies car- rofitting (Thomas, 2010) or design (DeClercq and ried out in India have focused on occupant satisfaction, Cranz, 2014). In many cases, the architectural design general thermal comfort, indoor air quality (Manu et al., intentions are largely predicted based on assumptions 2016) and building energy consumption (Thomas and and lessons from experience, established knowledge Baird, 2005). Even fewer studies have looked at design and occupant engagement during the design process aspects; focusing more on building system design rather (Alvaro et al., 2016). Developing a standardized frame- than architectural design (Maithel et al., 2017).Inan work for POE studies is difficult as the purpose and attempt to identify a framework for BPE/POE studies methodologies differ for each case (Li et al., 2018). in India, Gupta et al. (2019) identified several barriers, Further, cultural, policy and practical barriers can including lack of enthusiasm from professionals who make international BPE knowledge-exchange difficult dislike their work being judged, lack of policies, (Stevenson and Baborska-Narozny, 2018). Due to this resources, time, and necessary expertise. Due to the subjectivity, POE studies are essentially context-based, complexity involved, it is unsurprising that POEs and making it challenging to generalize to the wider building subsequent successful low-income housing design in industry (Li et al., 2018). This suggests that more con- India are rare. Further, built environment professionals text-specific studies are required in which designers often neglect the more individual and context-based can identify design decisions at an early phase sup- aspects that can be revealed through POE (Wijegunar- ported by POE to address local, context-specific needs. athna et al., 2018). This study contributes to this knowl- Further, the design of (low-income) housing is par- edge gap by investigating user satisfaction at both ticularly challenging as it is characterized by not just individual and community level by exploring the var- the physical structure of the house– but also the social, ious socio-technical factors that characterize affordable economic, political, behavioural and cultural elements housing design. Further, as highlighted in the previous from the wider socio-environmental system that need section, POE can play a crucial role in investigating careful consideration (Barakat, 2015; Bardhan et al., the success or failure of participatory design processes 2018; Khalid and Sunikka-Blank, 2018; Onibokun, by shedding light on the complex networks and conflict- 1974). As such, a socio-technical approach provides a ing interests at play and provide implications for future more holistic understanding of the co-constitutive participatory projects. social and material arrangements that together define the built environment (Shove et al., 2008) and ascribe Methodology meaning to architectural spaces (Müller and Reich- mann, 2015). In framing a socio-technical approach to This paper presents a socio-technical POE of end-users’ POE, Chiu et al. (2014) contend that the limitations of satisfaction with the participatory house design. Further, current POE practices that remain largely quantitative it provides an assessment of the participatory design and outcome-oriented can be overcome through an approach, analysing the degree of success of the partici- integrated in-depth analysis of the dynamic interactions patory method used, end-user’s engagement in the design between building design/retrofits and occupants’ com- process and the outcome of the participatory process in fort practices. In line with this, Stevenson (2019) also terms of sustainability and user satisfaction. advocates for a socio-cultural approach in BPE method- ology that takes account of the multiple physical and The case-study social factors that determine how occupants interact with their homes. Further, a socio-technical lens implies The case-study represents a low-income housing com- a distributional agency of architectural design and the munity located at the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, various stakeholders involved in the participatory founded as a sanctuary to bring together a marginalized design process, including homeowners, designers, and population formerly affected by leprosy. The commu- policymakers (Müller and Reichmann, 2015). nity consists of 113 households with a population of The impact of architectural design on cultural prac- approximately 430 residents. The design project was tices has been rarely discussed from a BPE/POE per- initiated to bring residents together in building the com- spective, particularly in an Indian context. The Indian munity in a participatory approach alongside pro- sustainability rating system called the Green Rating fessional experts. Community members were therefore for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA, 2015)is involved in decision-making during the building plan- mainly limited to the review of energy and water sys- ning, design, and implementation process. Apart from tems, and solid waste-management. In this, occupants’ the marginalized nature of its members, the community 578 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID site is in an area prone to seasonal flooding during expansions, thereby constraining opportunities for any which majority of the homes become uninhabitable socio-economic upgradation. This has led to the and need to be evacuated. unplanned growth of the community, as seen in New- The study compares three different categories of builds. Similar practices elsewhere in India have steered houses in the community. Type-1: Old-houses are the ‘urbanization into poverty’, encouraging spatial exclusion original houses built in 1968 through government initiat- through informal development (Bardhan et al., 2018). ives when the community was first established (Figure 1). Type-2: New-builds consists of houses newly built after Participatory design process demolishing the original houses by individual home- owners themselves (Figure 2). Type-3: Co-design A participatory design approach was selected by the includes houses that are architecturally designed and project patrons to build houses for the community. built using the participatory approach under a UK- Community participation was ensured throughout the India charity programme (Figure 3). Old-houses were design process, including decision-making, implemen- built using traditional practices, with ‘low-cost’ technol- tation, benefits acquisition, and evaluation. Figures 4 ogies – low-grade cement for construction and small, lat- and 5 illustrate the various stages and timeline of the ticed screens as windows. In contrast, New-builds were participatory design process and stakeholders involved. built of stronger materials with concrete floor slabs. A brief phasal description is given below: Unlike the single-storey structures of the old-houses, Phase 1: Project Initiation: The initial selection of these were two- or three-storeys high. This study reports houses for upgradation was made through a fair system findings from five Old-Houses, four New-builds and six of lottery as well as direct selection of the most vulner- Co-design houses. The houses are listed as Old- able, in agreement with the community. In the second house_01, New-build_01, Co-design_01 and so on. phase, houses were selected using a lottery system Two Co-designs (5 and 6) are discussed for their design between road numbers rather than individual houses strategies, but no data was collected from them as they to enable selection of two adjoining houses that needed were under construction during the study period. rebuilding to minimize construction costs through the Access to the community and fieldwork was facili- sharing of external walls and foundation structure. tated by the intermediaries (the local charity organiz- Co-design_05 and Co-design_06 were selected in this ation in this case), who had been working closely with manner. the community for some time and consequently gained Phase 2: Housing design: Compared to existing their trust. Sample selection from Old-houses and New- houses, the architect had a strong motivation to ensure builds was done strategically through the discretion of that houses were designed to be airy, daylit and ther- the charity and community leaders due to the sensitive mally comfortable in addition to meeting homeowners’ nature of the community and its vulnerable population. socio-cultural requirements and avoiding the risk of In addition, all co-designed houses were included in the flood. Community involvement remained central study sample. In this way, the 15 case-study houses (13% during this process, and the architect ensured that the of total households in the community) are representa- homeowners’ housing needs and requirements were tive of the community as they include 10 former leprosy clearly communicated to the design team. sufferers, which account for 25% of the total former For this, interactive community engagement sessions leprosy sufferers in the community. were organized between the architect and community Old-houses are characterized by inadequate open members with discussions facilitated using physical spaces without provision for future extensions or family models of the houses (Figure 5). Figure 1. Typical Type-1: Old-houses exteriors and interiors. BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 579 Phase 3: Project implementation: Houses were built (Preiser, 1995; Sanni-Anibire et al., 2016) in the selected with the help of local contractors and craftsmen, along case-study. Qualitative case-studies provide useful with homeowners’ participation in brick laying, prep- insights into complex social phenomenon (Yin, 2014), aration of floor tiles from local industry wastes, curing that can serve as evidence for validating or refuting criti- of concrete, etc. This helped in engaging homeowners cal theoretical framings (Flyvbjerg, 2006). Whilst case- while also providing a means for income-generation studies may not be suited for broader statistical general- through their economic participation. Figure 6 shows izations, Stevenson (2019) argues that even a single case- two Co-design houses, with front and back courtyards. study of one home can validate a BPE if it provides Phase 4: Evaluation and re-design: In the first phase, insight into key issues for the housing sector. four houses were constructed and handed over to the The POE for the present study included a mixed- residents. Post-occupancy feedback highlighted that methods approach to collect data, using environmental the homeowners were dissatisfied with open courtyard monitoring, questionnaire surveys, transect walks, pho- spaces. Consequently, the house design was altered to tography, semi-structured interviews, and a focus group meet homeowners’ requirements. Based on this evalu- discussion (FGD). Occupant questionnaire surveys were ation, two further houses were constructed in the conducted in the 15 case-study households with 22 second phase. respondents. Table 1 provides details of the selected variables for quantitative analysis. A standard thermal comfort survey using ASHRAE 7-point scale (Sharmin Data collection and analysis and Steemers, 2018) was conducted with immediate An indicative POE was carried out to identify major measurements of air temperature, relative humidity, achievements and drawbacks of building performance wind speed and mean radiant temperatures using Figure 2. (a) Typical New-build house, (b) Entry, (c) Windowless bedroom, (d) Windowless living room, (e) Typical living room. 580 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID Figure 3. Front courtyard and entry of Co-design houses: (a) Co-design_01, (b) Co-design_02, (c) Co-design_03, (d) Co-design_04. well as community residents. In line with a socio-tech- Testo 480 climatic instrument alongside three-day air temperature measurements using Tiny Tag data-loggers nical approach to POE as outlined by Chiu et al. during the hottest month in May. In addition, qualitat- (2014) and Stevenson (2019), the key interview ques- ive variables based on user perceptions of thermal tions and FGD focused on user requirements and satis- comfort and house satisfaction were also included (see faction within their spatial precinct, involvement in the Table 1). participatory design process and wider community life. Owing to the small sample size, the results from the Consequently, questions were structured around under- quantitative survey cannot be generalized as a represen- standing daily spatial practices in relation to housing tative indication of occupant’s housing satisfaction in layout and recognizing individual circumstances and the community. Rather, the analysis was used as a start- reasons for relocation/migration, social acceptance ing point to explore the relationship between spatial within and outside the community, and access to edu- design and user satisfaction. This then guided specific cation and other facilities within the community. directions of enquiry in the qualitative interviews for Some questions presented in Table 3 initiated the dis- more in-depth analysis of variations in satisfaction cussion for more in-depth enquiry. The semi-structured levels between house types. The survey data showed approach allowed for adaptation to each situation, lead- interesting differences in occupants’ satisfaction levels ing to more in-depth socio-spatial analysis. Interviews between the house types but also revealed somewhat were later translated and transcribed into English. conflicting results when compared with physical evalu- Analysis of interviews and focus group data was con- ation, environmental monitoring, and socio-cultural ducted using an inductive bottom-up approach with practices. Triangulation with qualitative analysis of iterative qualitative coding cycles following literature interviews and FGD helped explain apparent conflicts, guidelines (Miles et al., 2014; Saldana, 2015), which as elaborated in the Findings section. This approach is was then used to identify major themes. Coding is a in line with previous studies (Gupta and Chandiwala, qualitative data analysis technique whereby a detailed 2010; Stevenson, 2019) that emphasize the use of quali- reading of the text is undertaken and words or phrases tative interview data for more enriched building evalu- (labels) are assigned that symbolically designate a sum- ation as a valid scientific enquiry. mative, salient, essence-capturing or evocative attribute/ Semi-structured interviews were conducted in Hindi meaning to data (Saldana, 2015). A first-cycle line-by- with 22 residents (of which 8 were men), lasting line qualitative coding analysis of the data was followed between 60–90 min. Within qualitative studies, sample by a second cycle coding. Various types of deductive, sizes of 10 or more are generally considered sufficient descriptive, and thematic codes were used during the for detailed thematic analysis (Corbin and Strauss, cyclic process (e.g. spatial conflicts, negotiations of 2008; Galvin, 2015), since the objective is theory struc- space, problems with courtyards, changing expectations, turation and/or evidence of falsification, rather than cultural norms, etc.) which were then used to draw out statistical generalizability. In addition to interviews, a major themes. Coding was carried out iteratively by the focus group was arranged between the various stake- authors through periodic discussions and exchange of holders involved in the community housing project, notes to allow for reflection and review, which then including the architects, researchers, construction con- led to agreement on the key coding categories that tractor, charity representatives, community leaders as defined the overarching themes. BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 581 Figure 4. Various stages and timeline of the participatory design approach. Results different house types. Key results from the quantitative This section presents the results of the quantitative data analysis are presented below: analysis from environmental monitoring and the home- The air temperature profile monitored during a 3- owners’ questionnaire survey on thermal satisfaction in day period in May (Table 2) across the house types Figure 5. Architect showing small-scale model of an individual house to community members during community engagement session. 582 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID Figure 6. Co-design_03: (a) Section, (b) Plan; Co-design_04: (c) Section, (d) Plan. showed a temperature variation between 30.7°C (Co- context (Udaykumar and Rajasekar, 2015), which design_2) and 47.6°C (Old-house_01). These tempera- prompted the more detailed qualitative research. Quantitative environmental analysis presented in ture ranges are well above the local thermal comfort range of 25.0°C–31.0°C in summer, as suggested by Figure 8 revealed that house types differed significantly Udaykumar and Rajasekar (2015) for the hot-dry cli- in: level of housing satisfaction/happiness, thermal mate of Ahmedabad. The Thermal Sensation Vote acceptability, adequate daylighting and adequate venti- (TSV) from the questionnaire survey (Figure 7) showed lation. In terms of thermal acceptability, Old_houses that 100% of the residents in the Co-design houses were were considered mostly unacceptable with only 22% comfortable, despite the very high average indoor temp- homeowners indicating thermal acceptability. The use eratures (37.1°C). For the New-builds, approximately of corrugated tin roof made the thermal situation one-third of the residents felt comfortable, with the worse. Both New-build and Co-design homeowners remaining feeling warm, in an average indoor tempera- were satisfied with the level of thermal protection pro- ture of 37.0°C. From the Old-houses that showed an vided by improved construction. Some of the rooms average indoor temperature of 40.6°C, 77.8% of the resi- (including bedrooms, living rooms or prayer rooms) dents indicated that they felt hot while 22.2% felt warm. in the New-build houses did not have any window The residents showed higher temperature tolerance openings resulting in 78% and 89% satisfaction with compared to previous studies in a similar climatic daylighting and ventilation, respectively. Similarly, in Table 1. Selected variables to understand house design Table 3. Satisfaction with community and neighbourhood performance. facilities. Variables (User Do you feel a part of your neighbourhood/block? Yes – 100% perception) Description Response How many neighbours do you feel you know well? 113 – 100% Thermal comfort Thermal sensation on −3 = Cold, −2 = Cool, [numerical answer] traditional ASHRAE 7- −1 = Slightly cool, 0 Do you feel able to live independently in this Yes – 32%, No – point scale = Neutral, +1 = neighbourhood? 68% Slightly warm, +2 = Do you feel it is safe for children to play outside? Yes – 100% Warm, +3 = Hot Do you feel your home gives you adequate privacy? Yes – 100% Overall happiness Are you happy with the 0 = no, 1 = yes Do you feel disturbed by noise from neighbours and the No – 100% with living quality overall living quality of outside? of the houses the houses? Do you feel your neighbourhood gives you opportunities Yes – 100% Thermal Is the thermal condition 0 = no, 1 = yes to stop and talk with people regularly? acceptability during the interview Do you feel like you can get to local amenities easily in Yes – 100% period acceptable to this neighbourhood? you? Do you feel you can access spaces for recreation easily in Yes – 100% Adequate Does the house have 0 = no, 1 = yes this neighbourhood? daylighting adequate daylighting? Do you feel you have a say in your neighbourhood? Yes – 100% Adequate ventilation Does the house have 0 = no, 1 = yes Are you happy with the neighbourhood facilities (like Yes – 100% adequate ventilation? schools, hospitals, shops, recreational facilities)? BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 583 Table 2. Air temperature profile of the house types during 3-day measurements and mean instantaneous temperature during the questionnaire survey. Co- Co- Co- Old- Old- Old- Old- Old- New- New- New- New- House type design_01 design_02 design_03 house_01 house_02 house_03 house_04 house_05 build_01 build_02 build_03 build_04 Average – 3-day measurement 37.1 34.8 35.4 37.2 35.4 36.7 37.2 37.6 37.0 35.2 38.4 36.8 Minimum – 3-day measurement 34.4 30.7 32.6 32.6 32.6 34.2 33.5 34.6 35.7 33.2 35.5 35.6 Maximum – 3-day measurement 40.6 36.2 38.8 47.6 41.0 40.3 43.5 41.9 37.9 36.7 41.3 37.9 Mean instantaneous temperature during 37.3 36.4 37.6 40.6 37.9 41.5 41.1 41.9 36.4 36.5 38.4 36.7 questionnaire survey 584 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID overwhelmed with more pressing issues such as flood- ing; issues related to community facilities were deemed insignificant. Findings Drawing on the results from the questionnaire survey, this section presents findings of the qualitative analysis of the interview and focus group data. A socio-technical analysis of the house design, homeowners’ perceptions and use of domestic spaces and the underlying socio- Figure 7. Percentage frequency for the TSV across different cultural context helped reveal three key themes that house types. shed light on the performance of low-income housing in the case-study, discussed below. the Old_houses, the main living/bedroom had no win- dow openings and daylighting. This meant that artificial Courtyards and contestations lighting was essential in the inner rooms for both house types, as observed during the survey. In contrast, Co- Traditionally, courtyards were seen as inseparable design houses performed well in terms of daylighting elements in the hot-dry climate of Ahmedabad. Inner and homeowners expressed satisfaction with the overall courtyards often worked as an extension of the kitchen lighting conditions. The least amount of ventilation was and bedrooms to provide space for activities that experienced in Old_houses due to the absence of win- required privacy, such as bathing, washing, and sleeping dows in the main bedroom. Whereas in the New-build for women, etc. Front courtyards often acted as an out- houses, even without any window openings in the door extension of the house and provided a sleeping inner rooms, greater thermal comfort was achieved on area for men (Miyaoka et al., 2014). In the present the ground floor compared to the first floor due to study, interviews with homeowners revealed that priv- double-storey construction and greater wall thickness. acy was not a major concern in the community. Most The Co-design houses, on the other hand, had ample residents were accustomed to sleeping outdoors during air circulation due to careful design of cross-ventilation the summer. Although Old_houses did not have through the courtyards and ventilation shafts (Figure 6). internal courtyards, the front street-space was used for Respondents were also questioned regarding their social and economic activities during daytime and for satisfaction wider community and neighbourhood sleeping at night. In New-build houses that were devoid facilities (Table 3). A binary scale (yes/no) was used, of courtyards, sleeping areas were moved from the and the overall response was found highly positive. All ground level to the roof. In line with these socio-cultural respondents felt that they were an integral part of the norms, a front courtyard was incorporated in all Co- neighbourhood and well-acquainted with other com- design (01–06) houses to preserve local customs and munity members. Nearly 70% thought they could not encourage economic activities. Additionally, backyards live without help from each other. 32% respondents were incorporated in Co-design houses (01 and 03) (mostly those who had built their own houses and had for privacy and space for washing clothes and utensils, relatively more stable incomes) were confident in living etc. (Figure 9(a,b)). Co-design_04 originally had an independently. They all agreed that the area was safe for internal courtyard, and a front courtyard was added children to play outside. The notion of privacy and noise during upgradation (Figure 9(c,d)). pollution was not clear to them – these did not appear to These additions by the architect were further incor- be issues of concern. During site visits, privacy barriers porated to facilitate natural ventilation, improve day- between neighbours were observed to be small and lighting and reduce peak temperatures experienced homeowners were well accustomed to neighbours visit- during Ahmedabad’s harsh summers (as shown in ing throughout the day. Respondents were content with Figures 6 and 10). Further, large window-cum-door local amenities, recreation, and other neighbourhood openings (Figure 9(c)) were added to enhance cross- facilities (such as a school and hospital, etc.). Overall, ventilation and could be folded aside to open the they had very little expectations from the wider commu- interiors completely to the outdoors. nity due to their long-term exclusion and discrimi- Whilst the social and functional value of the court- nation from leprosy. Further, during the interviews, it yards was appreciated, findings from the interviews was revealed that because homeowners were generally and FGD revealed that residents were not satisfied BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 585 Figure 8. Percentage of respondents who agree with satisfaction statement. with the front and back courtyards of their houses. For homeowners as creating an uncomfortable windy example, Rani , who lived in Co-design_02, used her indoor environment. For instance, Suneeta (Co- courtyard for income-generating activities and socializ- design_01), when asked about her preference for any ing. However, she intended to sacrifice this open space design alterations, mentioned: “Yes, if I get the means for a new kitchen since she believed that the new layout in future, I will include the front-yard and backyard in did not meet the requirements of her large family: the indoor spaces”. In addition, the foldable window- cum-door design (Figure 10) was not welcome by “I cannot keep my children with me due to lack of space most residents as they feared it would not provide in the house. They live with my mother in a separate necessary weather protection during heavy monsoon city. There is no sleeping space for six people in the rains. house, let alone storage space. I would like to convert Such misconceptions attached with new design tech- the front courtyard into a kitchen after keeping mini- mal space for entry. I would also like to reduce the nologies together with increased socio-cultural require- front opening and possibly replace the folding door, ments for indoor space meant that most homeowners which cannot protect from the driving rain during the had misgivings about open courtyard spaces, even monsoon”. when they appreciated the improved lighting and ther- The backyard, essential for maintaining cross-venti- mal comfort this configuration provided. Homeowners’ lation throughout the house, was regarded by some discontent with the open house spaces mainly stemmed Figure 9. (a) Backyard in Co-design_01, (b) Backyard in Co-design_03, (c) Internal courtyard in Co-design_04, (d) Front-yard in Co- design_04. 586 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID Figure 10. Airy and well-daylit interiors in (a) DMU-new-build_01, (b) DMU-new-build_03. from their existing conceptions and use of outdoor with courtyards, the architect was compelled to exclude (public) spaces. Since the Old_houses did not include the backyard in lieu of an additional room in the two lat- any open courtyard spaces, most homeowners regarded ter houses (5 and 6), compromising the initial design. In the adjoining street-space in front of their house as part these two cases, the architect devised an alternative of their personal territory. This open outdoor space was strategy to allow for some lighting and ventilation in often used by women during daytime for income-gener- the back room by raising it 10 in. above the front. ating activities, household chores such as washing and Such deviations in design point to the conflicting drying as well as other social activities. It was also demands of comfort and space use that must be con- used by the children for playing and for sleeping out- sidered and negotiated in low-income housing design. doors at night. According to Bhavna, resident of an Old-house and a beggar by profession: Social expectations of space During hot hours of the day, we go outside and sit under the shade in the field. We sleep and eat outside Negative perceptions attached with courtyard spaces - come in the house to cook food. It is just too hot to were further substantiated by homeowner’s desire for sleep in the house. We only eat inside during winters greater indoor spaces under changing consumption or when it is raining. characteristics and increasing material dependence. Since homeowners were used to performing various Most homeowners residing in Co-design houses domestic activities in the (public) outdoor spaces of expressed a need for greater storage space. Inadequate adjoining neighbourhood streets and other community storage facilities were highlighted as a critical factor in areas (Figure 11) beyond the boundaries of their own the POE and ultimately affected the efficiency of the houses, the provision of a front courtyard in Co-design interior layout. houses, within their property lines, was considered a This additional demand for storage space was a result waste for what could be extended indoor space for sto- of the changing socio-cultural expectations attached to rage or accommodating guests, etc. The only alteration the elevated social status from owning a newly rebuilt to this sleeping/eating culture existed for the New-build house. This was seen in the case of Suneeta, sole occu- inhabitants in the form of roof terraces, often used for pant of Co-design_01. A street beggar by profession, sleeping during hot summers. Suneeta had minimal belongings to store in the house These examples revealed that ownership was associ- due to her poverty-stricken situation (Figure 12(a,b)). ated only with indoor household spaces in the commu- However, her newly elevated status meant that she nity; wherein public outdoor spaces were encroached now had several relatives visiting and staying with her for various household activities that require perform- for extended periods. During multiple visits for inter- ance outdoors. This resulted in conflicts between home- views, the house was observed to be frequently occupied owners‘ lack of demand for courtyard spaces within plot by her daughter’s family and even relatives from distant boundaries on the one hand, and the provision of ade- villages. This suggests that the new house became a sym- quate lighting, ventilation and passive thermal comfort bol of social status for the homeowners. For the margin- on the other. Due to the negative connotations attached alized members of this community who had suffered BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 587 Figure 11. Income-generating activities in public spaces: (a) by homeowner Co-design_02 before new construction, (b) other com- munity members long periods of social exclusion because of leprosy, the space more urgently. If a guest visits us, we have a serious space issue. newly built houses represented a shift towards social inclusion and integration. Their houses hence became Such examples show that the new house design resulted a symbol of pride and reclaimed social standing. In in changing household dynamics with an insurgence of light of these social imaginaries and expectations, extended family members, leading to greater use of and although the interior space was more than adequate expectation for space. for a single person, Suneeta was disappointed with the The participatory design of the new houses had pri- provision of a backyard in her house and claimed that marily focused on the environmental characteristics of ‘the backyard blows in dirt’– which essentially meant the house spatial configuration, prioritizing improved higher natural ventilation and had no apparent conflict thermal comfort. However, for the community resi- with the design of the space. Although this open space at dents, these houses had come to symbolize social pres- the exterior was designed for privacy and improved tige and acceptance in the wider society. Hence, environmental conditions; Suneeta considered it a architecture acted as a material manifestation of home- waste which, in her opinion, could have otherwise owners’ social reintegration, and design became a been used to extend the indoor space to accommodate means for reifying and reconstructing a respectable pos- her relatives. ition in society. Consequently, this resulted in home- Similarly, when comparing the size of her new house owners’ greater expectations of indoor space use and (Co-design_02) with the old, Rani felt that both houses demand for expanding house sizes with implications provided a similar amount of space despite the new for the wider community. This changing landscape of house being nearly twice the size of her previous the neighbourhood under homeowners’ changing house. She complained about the lack of adequate sto- socio-cultural dynamics needs to be accounted for in rage space and the small size of the toilet and bath future participatory approaches. (Figure 12(c,d)). Another example of this was seen in the case of homeowners of Co-design_03, who remained unconvinced that the new house provided Negotiations of agency in spatial use and design more space compared to their previous accommo- Negotiations of power and spatial agency in the com- dation, although they were able to divide the living/ munity can be further understood when placed in the sleeping room into two separate spaces to allow for priv- broader landscape of informal development in India. acy for their female relatives, as claimed by the daughter As Datta (2008) suggests, it is important to examine Nirmala: low-income housing architecture for the ways that it is We would prefer an additional indoor space instead of produced by multi-scalar actors. Typical informal settle- the backyard. Also, because the backyard is at a differ- ments in India feature unstable housing structures, inse- ent floor level than the living areas, we cannot use cure tenure, insufficient living area, and poor access to this for sleeping purposes. Storage is a big problem as basic amenities (Li et al., 2021). Deprivation of space well. I would be very happy if [the architect] changes and resources therefore result in social conflicts across the courtyard into a room. Although there will be pro- blem of ventilation, we would sacrifice that as we need different stakeholder groups. Institutional and fiscal 588 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID Figure 12. (a), (b) Adequate storage facilities for a single person at Co-design_01, (c), (d) Inadequate storage facilities for a family of 6 at Co-design_02, (e) Inadequate storage facilities for a family of 3 at Co-design_03. challenges associated with slum rehabilitation and spatial ownership. Homeowners of the Co-design development often result in exclusionary policies and houses, while experiencing better living conditions lack of appropriate planning regulations (Hingorani, under their recently upgraded housing, still faced econ- 2011). Consequently, in-situ slum upgradation has omic constraints as their financial situation, for the most gained popularity in India, with a shift from strong cen- part, remained unchanged. As such, stakeholders from tralized government intervention to reliance on civil these two housing types had limited spatial agency. society, market rationality, local urban governance and On the contrary, residents of New-builds, with their bet- individual responsibility (Hingorani, 2011; Li et al., ter resources and housing conditions, dominated the 2021). In the present case, this has meant that the gov- spatial territory of the community. ernment has played a passive role in the development of Instead of opposing such spatial encroachment, resi- the case-study community, leaving it to individual dents of the former two housing types aspired to do the homeowners to ensure housing and community devel- same. During the FGD, it became apparent that com- opment. In terms of government regulation, the only munity residents favoured the design of the multi-stor- restrictions enforced to allow for ownership of housing ied New-builds with their ample indoor spaces, personal so long as inhabitants continue to occupy their houses, verandas, and roof terraces. In particular, the commu- and ownership ceases if the inhabitants decide to leave nity leader was thoroughly convinced with the approach the community. With no other planning regulations in of maximizing indoor space, justifying it on the basis of place, analysis revealed that spatial agency became a social customs whereby (male) children are expected to matter of power dynamics between the residents of move-in with the parents to take financial responsibility the three different housing types. Old-house residents, of the family. Since the original houses were designed as being the most vulnerable, had access to only the very single-family accommodations, multi-family require- basic amenities with no means to upgrade and expand ments could only be accommodated through vertical BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 589 expansion. In the absence of state control through ade- be critical unless a proper strategy for planned future quate planning legislation and building regulation, growth was put in place. houses were expanded to their vertical and horizontal limits on the homeowners’ discretion based on personal Discussion means, often encroaching on public spaces, and inhibit- ing most solar/daylight access. Other stakeholders The POE undertaken in this study identified several involved in the community design, such as local char- positive and negative factors in participation and design ities and international volunteer agencies, although of the new houses. Compared to the existing houses, actively involved in providing community support, Co-design houses provided improved thermal comfort, had no authority or law-enforcement capacity to control adequate daylighting, reduced flood-risk and increased the physical growth of the community. Further, budget- habitable indoor/outdoor spaces, as revealed from the ary constraints acted as a major hurdle in negotiations POE environmental monitoring and quantitative analy- of space within the house and beyond, as highlighted sis. Whilst the overall living conditions improved sig- by the architect: nificantly in the new houses, qualitative analysis shows that important aspects like household density and future I accept the fact that the residents are not fully happy about all aspects of design. They do not have full idea expansion prospects were not given due consideration. about the limited resources we had to work with! We Other drawbacks associated with the design included even counted the pieces of bricks required for construc- lack of adequate space for sleeping and storage that tion to save money and to keep within the budget. partly originated from increased functional require- In addition, it became evident from the FGD that resi- ments due to household composition and partly from dents had no clear vision for the future growth of the increased expectations for indoor space and individua- community. Those with a steady income source lized facilities in the new houses. expanded their houses, to maximize occupancy without POE revealed the improved environmental perform- considering the quality of spaces being produced. This ance of the new houses, resulting from the design of resulted in reduced ventilation and solar access in the comfortable and sociable adjoining courtyard spaces, neighbourhood streets, which in turn had consequences incorporated as a traditional architectural and environ- for the quality of the indoor environment (Figure 13). In mental solution. However, these spaces were perceived this, marginalized community members that lacked a to be undesirable, unprofitable, and impractical by the proper income source (including beggars and the dis- homeowners who lacked knowledge and understanding abled), had limited agency without the means to expand of passive design and environmental strategies. The their houses. This shows that although participatory architect’s decision to exclude backyards in the sub- approach can be potentially empowering, involving: sequent houses was based on homeowners’ increased ‘multi-dimensional social process that helps people demands for indoor space, compromising on environ- gain control over their own lives’ (Page and Czuba, mental and social performance. The study shows that 1999), the notion of empowerment can be lost due to in the absence of regulatory mechanisms, government the dominance of more capable members of the com- policies and top-down support for low-income housing, munity. Among the 113 households in the community, homeowners tend to focus on short-term individual almost half had been rebuilt by the homeowners benefits to the detriment of the larger community. through intrusion of adjoining neighbourhood spaces. This has inimical consequences for the quality of life, Since houses were originally built without provision health, and well-being of the homeowners themselves. for expansion, continuation of this trend would inevita- Consequently, under the confinements of a limited pol- bly result in inadequate access to air and light in the icy and planning landscape, bottom-up participatory community houses. Further increase in household den- design approaches have limited agency for long-term sity would lead to environmental degradation resulting sustainable transitions. These findings corroborate in adverse effects on the residents’ health and well- other studies in the Indian context that demonstrate being. Moreover, unplanned growth would mean the challenges of bottom-up approaches under the fail- depletion of soft land and outdoor recreation areas. ure of top-down processes (Hingorani, 2011; Li et al., This would further aggravate drainage issues and flood- 2021), advocating for a middle-ground approach ing. Although new houses were built on high plinths, (Tiwari et al., 2021). this elevation would be insufficient to deal with rising Further, the study shows that although a participa- flood levels, specifically if the drainage system failed to tory design approach can lead to improved user satisfac- meet growing demands. Hence, flooding risks could tion, it can have contradictory outcomes in terms of 590 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID Figure 13. Obstruction of light and ventilation and encroachment of common spaces through unplanned building of Type-2: New- build houses. environmental concerns and sustainability. Previous incremental development (Nix et al., 2019) for research has shown that participants’ short-sightedness improved sustainability. and self-interests can reduce the capacity of participa- The small sample of survey data and co-designed tory design to address issues of environmental risks houses in this study limits the statistical applicability of and poverty (Sanoff, 1999). In low-income, vulnerable, the occupant satisfaction results. Further quantitative and marginalized communities, these risks and contra- research is needed to determine occupant satisfaction at dictions can be exacerbated due to lack of knowledge scale. However, findings from the qualitative analysis and environmental awareness, the need for fulfilling show that performance evaluations of housing for low- basic requirements and aspirations to climb the social income, marginalized communities require detailed con- ladder. In the present case, under such constraints, textualized analysis of what works and what doesn’t. whilst the participatory design approach was able to Further, POEs should not only focus on the end-design influence house design for improved space and comfort, and user satisfaction, but also on providing assessments it was unable to convey the significance of investing in of the design process itself and engagement with various community-based, shared spaces and to meaningfully stakeholders. In this, participatory design should be engage participants in community development understood as a ‘situated social process’ (Jones and through setting long-term planning objectives. Our SPEECH, 2001,p.34) basedon ideas of ‘empowered par- findings indicate that in addition to considering occu- ticipation’ (Fung, 2005) in which capacity building, train- pants’ cultural practices in housing design (Shove ing, education, and skills development of participants goes et al., 2008), low-income housing development policies hand in hand with energy and housing finance initiatives, should take account of occupants’ future socio-econ- better collaboration and engagement with government omic needs, such as expanding family sizes, social net- authorities and improved POE procedures. works and increased economic participation through home-based activities. This can be ensured by incorpor- Conclusions ating flexibility and adaptability in housing layouts (Garrefa et al., 2021), understanding energy ‘redun- This research addresses a significant gap in the post- dancy’ (Stevenson et al., 2016), and provisions for occupancy and participatory design evaluation of low- BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 591 income housing in developing countries by conducting contextual socio-cultural requirements and plan for an in-depth assessment of the architectural design and future socio-economic growth. In this, participatory homeowners’ use of and satisfaction with domestic governance (Schneider, 1999) that allows inclusive spaces. The study is carried out for a unique social development through stakeholder integration within group subjected to social stigma, discrimination, and more stringent planning regulations can result in exclusion due to leprosy. POE studies for such margin- more sustainable development. In this regard, recent alized groups are rare. The study uses both qualitative reforms in ownership laws in informal settlements in and quantitative techniques in a socio-technical India is a step in the right direction to help improve approach to provide a robust analysis of the impact of spatial planning and curtail encroachment. architectural design and the participatory design The study also raises questions about how best to uti- approach used on homeowners’ thermal satisfaction lize POEs and occupant feedback. In the present case, and space use. owing to the incremental nature of the participatory Owing to the unique nature of the case-study, it may design project, the POE was able to inform the sub- be difficult to generalize findings to the wider domestic sequent housing design, which may not be the case in sector. However, the study contributes theoretically and most mass-scale social housing development. This indi- methodologically to the literature on BPEs for low- cates that understanding the processual nature of POEs income housing in two ways: First, it shows that com- is as important as determining their content. It also bining POE with participatory design methods can shows that a BPE approach that incorporates smaller, improve understandings of occupants housing needs incremental and affordable demonstration projects in while also revealing the various hierarchical agencies housing development can take account of localized in participation and power dynamics within the built socio-cultural contexts and be better optimized (Steven- environment. This has consequences for occupant satis- son and Baborska-Narozny, 2018). faction and so, a combined approach can provide the means to transform power relations that can ultimately improve building performance and housing sustainabil- Notes ity. It also reveals the intermediary role that researchers 1. Pseudonyms are used in place of real names throughout and architects can play between end-users and develo- the paper as per interview ethical guidelines. pers/policymakers to improve housing performance 2. As per The National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recog- nition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised and development (Garrefa et al., 2021; Janda and Colonies) Bill, 2019, see https://prsindia.org/billtrack/ Parag, 2013). the-national-capital-territory-of-delhi-recognition-of- Second, it further substantiates empirically the need property-rights-of-residents-in-unauthorised-colonies- for a socio-technical approach in POE, as advocated bill-2019 by Chiu et al. (2014) and Stevenson (2019). It reveals 3. Environmental monitoring for Co-design _04 could not that even when occupants are engaged throughout a be carried out due to logistics issues. participatory design process at the various stages of pre-construction, building and post-occupation, satis- faction levels may still vary. This is because even though Acknowledgements buildings may be designed to function better environ- This paper is an output from Research England QR-GCRF mentally, occupants may develop unforeseen expec- project, ‘Socio-cultural and environmental experiences in tations of higher levels of comfort, convenience and low-income, tropical housing’ at the Architecture Research Institute, De Montfort University, UK. The authors would satisfaction as a ‘rebound’ effect to improved building also like to thank Dhrupad Shukla and Sagar Odedra for the design. Previous studies have described this rebound images of community discussions and SEALAB Architects effect in terms of higher levels of thermal comfort for the discussions, design drawings and model photos. (Haas and Biermayr, 2000; Sorrell et al., 2009) or greater use of energy fuels and services (Greening et al., 2000; Khazzoom, 1980). Our study adds to this conceptualiz- Disclosure statement ation of rebound effects in terms of higher expectations No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s). of social standing and social inclusion in low-income developments. This has implications for BPE research- ers and policymakers alike. Moving beyond the mantra Funding of meeting basic shelter requirements, low-income housing policies should take a socio-technical approach This work was supported by Research England QR-GCRF De to integrate environmental standards with occupants’ Montfort University. 592 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID Davis, S. (1995). 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Post occupancy and participatory design evaluation of a marginalized low-income settlement in Ahmedabad, India

Building Research & Information , Volume 50 (5): 21 – Jul 4, 2022

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BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 2022, VOL. 50, NO. 5, 574–594 https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2021.2018286 Post occupancy and participatory design evaluation of a marginalized low- income settlement in Ahmedabad, India a b Tania Sharmin and Rihab Khalid a b Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK; Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 30 July 2021 This paper presents a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) of a participatory design project for a Accepted 8 December 2021 marginalized low-income community in Ahmedabad, India. Through a mixed-methods socio- technical approach, it presents an in-depth qualitative assessment of the architectural design KEYWORDS and homeowners’ use of and satisfaction with domestic spaces. Analysis shows that although a Post-occupancy evaluation; participatory design approach can lead to improved user satisfaction, it can have contradictory participatory design; low- environmental and sustainability outcomes in low-income communities due to homeowner’s income housing; end-users’ limited environmental awareness, aspirations for improved social standing, and financial satisfaction; Global South constraints. Findings show that combining POE with participatory design can help recognize occupants’ housing needs while also revealing various hierarchical agencies in participation and power dynamics within the built environment. It further substantiates the need for a socio- technical approach in POE that integrates environmental standards with occupants’ contextual socio-cultural needs and incorporates plans for future socio-economic growth, while providing assessment of the design process itself and engagement with various stakeholders. The study shows that successful Building Performance Evaluations (BPE) should incorporate bottom-up participation through incremental, and affordable demonstration projects in housing developments that take account of localized socio-cultural contexts and allow more inclusive development through stakeholder integration for long-term sustainable transitions. Introduction designed by architects, and almost never incorporate Sustainable, affordable, and adequate housing provision users in the design process. Under massive economic is among the United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Devel- and development challenges faced in housing provision, opment Goals (SDGs) and critical to meet climate architectural design characteristics are often neglected change targets across the SDGs. Yet, according to the and compromised, with the common standpoint that UN (2019), over one billion people (23.5% of total ‘with a problem so urgent and widespread, why even dis- urban population in 2018) live in inadequate slums or cuss architecture?’ (Davis, 1995). Most government informal settlements, predominantly in the Global endeavours in low-income or subsidized housing tra- South, and up to three billion people will require access ditionally lack material and design interventions (Sen- to adequate and affordable housing by 2030. In most gupta, 2013) and are further compromised under developing countries, low-income housing design misconceptions of meeting minimum standards and receives little attention and slum redevelopment guide- basic shelter requirements, so as to be ‘basic, safe and lines remain an under-researched area (e.g. Bardhan clean – but no more’ (Davis, 1995). This results in (re)pro- et al., 2018; Garrefa et al., 2021; Nix et al., 2019). This ducing housing conditions that face ever greater chal- leads to poor quality housing, unstable structures, lenges of resilience under the combined threat of climate insufficient amenities and poor access to infrastructure change, economic crises and diminishing energy supply facilities that increase the social vulnerability and pre- (Stevenson et al., 2016). Apart from a lack of environ- carity of the poor (Garrefa et al., 2021; Li et al., 2021). mental considerations, such housing is also often devoid In India, a country that faces critical urbanization and of local socio-cultural considerations and practices (Kha- infrastructure development challenges under population lid and Sunikka-Blank, 2018). It is now increasingly recog- expansion, low-income houses are only occasionally nized that sustainable housing and energy transitions CONTACT Tania Sharmin SharminT@cardiff.ac.uk © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 575 require both technological and social intervention to meet user’s greater involvement often results in better manage- Climate Change targets (Shove et al., 2008)through an ment and maintenance of housing and neighbourhood integrated socio-technical approach in building design infrastructure and services (Sheng, 1990), resulting in and evaluation (Stevenson, 2019). decreased economic costs and increased usable life of Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) for such houses is buildings through regeneration processes (Carmon, 2002). rare, which further adds to the gap between estimated Many participatory frameworks have been developed design criteria and actual performance and user satisfac- in the literature that identify the extent of a community’s tion. To address these gaps, the paper draws on experi- control and decision-making in the design and develop- ences of a participatory design project for a low-income, ment process; for example, in relation to beneficiaries former leprosy-affected population, in Ahmedabad, (e.g. Michener, 1998a; Moser, 1989), types of stakeholders India. As part of the project, bespoke low-income involved (White, 1996), and the project levels or stages at houses were built by local architects, employed by a which participation occurs (Cohen and Uphoff, 1980). In local charity, in line with homeowners’ requirements. practice, the key difference is in whether participation is By conducting an in-depth qualitative analysis of the seen as a means or an end in development programmes participatory design process and by comparing and (Parfitt, 2004): successful participation requires a reconfi- evaluating the architectural design and homeowners’ guration of power between researchers/designers and perceptions of existing and co-designed houses, the end-users in a reciprocal relationship built on collective study investigates the various challenges and limitations learning (Boyle and Harris, 2009;Sheng, 1990). In this, of the project, as well as the successes achieved. Through participatory design complements building performance a socio-technical POE approach, the study seeks to evaluation (BPE) (Stevenson, 2019). Combining in- answer: (1) what are the various socio-technical charac- depth observation and end-user engagement during the teristics of homeowners’ satisfaction in different hous- design process with POEs provides better means of pro- ing types; (2) what insights can be gained from a duction, governance and maintenance (Garrefa et al., socio-technical POE of the low-income participatory 2021;Stevenson andPetrescu, 2016). design project; and (3) what are the implications for There exists a long history of participatory projects in designers and policy makers for future low-cost housing developing contexts that gained momentum in the using participatory design. Such questions are particu- 1970s under concerns for meeting the basic needs of larly relevant in the Indian context where obsolete con- the poor (Michener, 1998), particularly in the pro- struction technologies, and lack of innovation and motion of self-help housing and settlement upgrading evaluation in low-income housing are common. in developing countries (Carmon, 2002). In India, par- ticipatory development took root in the sixties through small-scale local initiatives and then up-scaled to the Literature review urban level by the eighties through several town plan- ning and development acts (Basu, 2016; Salamah, Participatory design in architecture 2021). By the twenty-first century, most federal govern- Participatory design presents an alternative approach to ment funding to states was linked to participatory pro- conventional architectural design by de-centralising and grammes (Basu, 2016). Recent initiatives like National democratizing the design process (Hester, 1987; Sanoff, Slum Development Programme and Jawahar Lal 2007, 1999) that includes professional ‘experts’,likearchi- Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) also include tects, builders and planners as well as citizens, such as participation (Basu, 2016). However, in most cases, par- homeowners, as the end-users. Co-production or partici- ticipation can often be limited to notifying affected citi- pation can help empower homeowners and end-users as zens or conducting consultations to manipulatively active agents towards meaningful and purposive adap- derive consensus towards a policy decision (Salamah, tation and change to their daily environment (Boyle and 2021). In this way, participatory processes can often Harris, 2009). Such positive outcomes informed by be instrumental (Basu, 2016), discriminatory (Haque, user’s involvement in participatory design are well-estab- 2018; Li et al., 2021), or tokenistic (Tiwari et al., 2021). lishedin theliterature(e.g. BoyleandHarris, 2009;Car- Further, numerous studies show that participation mon, 2002;Mubitaetal., 2017;Nix et al., 2019; Sanoff, alone cannot guarantee success, especially when riddled 2007;Sheng, 1990) and are associated with better under- with ambiguities in its relation to social development, standing of design based on user’s tacit knowledge (Spi- equality, and justice. For instance, lack of accountability nuzzi, 2005), improved democratic choice and social and resources can mean participation alone is insufficient capital (Carmon, 2002), and shared insights brought to improve the quality of life of the poorest of the poor about from group interaction (Sanoff, 1999). Further, (1998). Increasingly bureaucratic processes can also result 576 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID in institutionalizing participatory approaches under limit- explicitly stated performance criteria’ (p. 19). POE is ations of resources, expertise, manpower, local knowledge commonly used for acquiring feedback on a building’s and conflicting interests (Basu, 2016; Crook and Manor, performance in use, including energy and water assess- 1998). Hence, successful participatory housing design ments, indoor environment quality (IEQ), occupants’ requires integration with other reformative initiatives satisfaction, productivity, etc. (Li et al., 2018). Preiser such as change in housing and planning regulations to (1995) categorizes three distinct levels of POE: indica- improve flexibility, replacement of formal private market- tive, investigative, and diagnostic. Indicative POEs ization in lieu of pluralistic approaches and improved include short (several hours), walk-through evaluations access to materials and construction techniques (Keivani alongside stakeholder interviews, discussions with end- and Werna, 2001; Valladares, 2017). This is particularly users and photographic (and written) documentation of true for development landscapes rife with corporate- building performance. Investigative POEs include more and profit-driven projects, planners and processes that in-depth building investigation carried out over several undermine low-cost housing performance (Chaudhry weeks/months using questionnaire surveys and inter- et al., 2017;Miraftab, 2003; Salamah, 2021). Under such views with key stakeholders, photographic and video constraints, community participation can even perpetuate surveys and physical measurements. Diagnostic POEs negative consequences for the larger built environment. include more focused, longitudinal, and cross-sectional Further, participation in sensitive contexts requires care- evaluation of detailed performance criteria using com- ful negotiation as it can trigger latent conflicts through plex data gathering and analysis techniques over several the reallocation of resources, putting those most vulner- months or years. able at further risk (Jones and SPEECH, 2001;Neumann A more recent (established since 1990s) and and Bliss, 2008). advanced method for evaluating building performance Whilst most studies in the Indian context point to the is BPE. BPE is a methodical approach for assessing the constraints and challenges faced by participatory actual performance against expected performance approaches, some studies also highlight successes. For across the building’s life cycle through feedback and example, Nix et al. (2019) show that participatory action assessment at every stage of building, planning and research can be used to identify and prioritize low- occupancy (Gupta et al., 2019). While BPE provides a income occupants’ housing-related health concerns that more robust evaluation method, it presents challenges can lead to more reactive and responsive interventions. in terms of complex data collection and processing Their study shows that greater degrees of discussion required throughout the building’s lifecycle. Therefore and knowledge exchange were required with the commu- POE, which focuses on the in-use phase, proves useful nities to reconcile principal objectives with participants’ in investigating the building from its occupant’s per- needs, desires and limitations. Other studies (e.g. Jones spective. This is especially advantageous in cases and SPEECH, 2001) show that introducing participatory where both data and resources are limited to conduct action after building trust can help foster the commu- an extensive BPE or Diagnostic POE study, as is the nity’s localized knowledge into problem-solving and case in most developing countries. Likewise, POE at capacity building. Rather than an end-goal, participation an early-occupancy stage – as in this study – can be can be used to integrate conscientisation and develop- equally helpful in understanding various aspects of ment. Tiwari et al. (2021)propose a ‘middle-ground’ design to enable modification and improvement of approach to participatory planning for successful Indian future design decisions. slum upgradation. Building on existing models and past Despite being a standard practice, current POE experiences, the authors show that this approach allows studies have limitations. Few POE studies have assessed for adaptation to local organizational constraints, while the impact of architectural design on building occupants reflexively engaging in meaningful participation. A key or users (Pati and Pati, 2013). Systematic occupant takeaway from this review is that post-completion project responses from completed buildings are rarely sought assessment and evaluation are essential to determine the and received by design and construction professionals. success of participatory design. Systematic feedback can be crucial for improving build- ing performance (Sanni-Anibire et al., 2016) despite challenges in the ambiguity of how to use POE data to POE in low-income housing inform design decisions. Some POE studies have been POE is an assessment of newly constructed buildings or conducted to examine design innovations (Baborska- retrofits in existing buildings. Preiser (1995) describes Narozny et al., 2016; Kalantari and Snell, 2017), design POE as ‘the process of systematically comparing actual features for certain occupant groups (Wongbumru building performance, i.e. performance measures, with and Dewancker, 2016), or the design process of a project BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 577 (Grangaard and Ryhl, 2016), while some studies have perspectives and needs are typically overlooked attempted to inform future project refurbishment/ret- (Gupta et al., 2019). The limited BPE/ POE studies car- rofitting (Thomas, 2010) or design (DeClercq and ried out in India have focused on occupant satisfaction, Cranz, 2014). In many cases, the architectural design general thermal comfort, indoor air quality (Manu et al., intentions are largely predicted based on assumptions 2016) and building energy consumption (Thomas and and lessons from experience, established knowledge Baird, 2005). Even fewer studies have looked at design and occupant engagement during the design process aspects; focusing more on building system design rather (Alvaro et al., 2016). Developing a standardized frame- than architectural design (Maithel et al., 2017).Inan work for POE studies is difficult as the purpose and attempt to identify a framework for BPE/POE studies methodologies differ for each case (Li et al., 2018). in India, Gupta et al. (2019) identified several barriers, Further, cultural, policy and practical barriers can including lack of enthusiasm from professionals who make international BPE knowledge-exchange difficult dislike their work being judged, lack of policies, (Stevenson and Baborska-Narozny, 2018). Due to this resources, time, and necessary expertise. Due to the subjectivity, POE studies are essentially context-based, complexity involved, it is unsurprising that POEs and making it challenging to generalize to the wider building subsequent successful low-income housing design in industry (Li et al., 2018). This suggests that more con- India are rare. Further, built environment professionals text-specific studies are required in which designers often neglect the more individual and context-based can identify design decisions at an early phase sup- aspects that can be revealed through POE (Wijegunar- ported by POE to address local, context-specific needs. athna et al., 2018). This study contributes to this knowl- Further, the design of (low-income) housing is par- edge gap by investigating user satisfaction at both ticularly challenging as it is characterized by not just individual and community level by exploring the var- the physical structure of the house– but also the social, ious socio-technical factors that characterize affordable economic, political, behavioural and cultural elements housing design. Further, as highlighted in the previous from the wider socio-environmental system that need section, POE can play a crucial role in investigating careful consideration (Barakat, 2015; Bardhan et al., the success or failure of participatory design processes 2018; Khalid and Sunikka-Blank, 2018; Onibokun, by shedding light on the complex networks and conflict- 1974). As such, a socio-technical approach provides a ing interests at play and provide implications for future more holistic understanding of the co-constitutive participatory projects. social and material arrangements that together define the built environment (Shove et al., 2008) and ascribe Methodology meaning to architectural spaces (Müller and Reich- mann, 2015). In framing a socio-technical approach to This paper presents a socio-technical POE of end-users’ POE, Chiu et al. (2014) contend that the limitations of satisfaction with the participatory house design. Further, current POE practices that remain largely quantitative it provides an assessment of the participatory design and outcome-oriented can be overcome through an approach, analysing the degree of success of the partici- integrated in-depth analysis of the dynamic interactions patory method used, end-user’s engagement in the design between building design/retrofits and occupants’ com- process and the outcome of the participatory process in fort practices. In line with this, Stevenson (2019) also terms of sustainability and user satisfaction. advocates for a socio-cultural approach in BPE method- ology that takes account of the multiple physical and The case-study social factors that determine how occupants interact with their homes. Further, a socio-technical lens implies The case-study represents a low-income housing com- a distributional agency of architectural design and the munity located at the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, various stakeholders involved in the participatory founded as a sanctuary to bring together a marginalized design process, including homeowners, designers, and population formerly affected by leprosy. The commu- policymakers (Müller and Reichmann, 2015). nity consists of 113 households with a population of The impact of architectural design on cultural prac- approximately 430 residents. The design project was tices has been rarely discussed from a BPE/POE per- initiated to bring residents together in building the com- spective, particularly in an Indian context. The Indian munity in a participatory approach alongside pro- sustainability rating system called the Green Rating fessional experts. Community members were therefore for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA, 2015)is involved in decision-making during the building plan- mainly limited to the review of energy and water sys- ning, design, and implementation process. Apart from tems, and solid waste-management. In this, occupants’ the marginalized nature of its members, the community 578 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID site is in an area prone to seasonal flooding during expansions, thereby constraining opportunities for any which majority of the homes become uninhabitable socio-economic upgradation. This has led to the and need to be evacuated. unplanned growth of the community, as seen in New- The study compares three different categories of builds. Similar practices elsewhere in India have steered houses in the community. Type-1: Old-houses are the ‘urbanization into poverty’, encouraging spatial exclusion original houses built in 1968 through government initiat- through informal development (Bardhan et al., 2018). ives when the community was first established (Figure 1). Type-2: New-builds consists of houses newly built after Participatory design process demolishing the original houses by individual home- owners themselves (Figure 2). Type-3: Co-design A participatory design approach was selected by the includes houses that are architecturally designed and project patrons to build houses for the community. built using the participatory approach under a UK- Community participation was ensured throughout the India charity programme (Figure 3). Old-houses were design process, including decision-making, implemen- built using traditional practices, with ‘low-cost’ technol- tation, benefits acquisition, and evaluation. Figures 4 ogies – low-grade cement for construction and small, lat- and 5 illustrate the various stages and timeline of the ticed screens as windows. In contrast, New-builds were participatory design process and stakeholders involved. built of stronger materials with concrete floor slabs. A brief phasal description is given below: Unlike the single-storey structures of the old-houses, Phase 1: Project Initiation: The initial selection of these were two- or three-storeys high. This study reports houses for upgradation was made through a fair system findings from five Old-Houses, four New-builds and six of lottery as well as direct selection of the most vulner- Co-design houses. The houses are listed as Old- able, in agreement with the community. In the second house_01, New-build_01, Co-design_01 and so on. phase, houses were selected using a lottery system Two Co-designs (5 and 6) are discussed for their design between road numbers rather than individual houses strategies, but no data was collected from them as they to enable selection of two adjoining houses that needed were under construction during the study period. rebuilding to minimize construction costs through the Access to the community and fieldwork was facili- sharing of external walls and foundation structure. tated by the intermediaries (the local charity organiz- Co-design_05 and Co-design_06 were selected in this ation in this case), who had been working closely with manner. the community for some time and consequently gained Phase 2: Housing design: Compared to existing their trust. Sample selection from Old-houses and New- houses, the architect had a strong motivation to ensure builds was done strategically through the discretion of that houses were designed to be airy, daylit and ther- the charity and community leaders due to the sensitive mally comfortable in addition to meeting homeowners’ nature of the community and its vulnerable population. socio-cultural requirements and avoiding the risk of In addition, all co-designed houses were included in the flood. Community involvement remained central study sample. In this way, the 15 case-study houses (13% during this process, and the architect ensured that the of total households in the community) are representa- homeowners’ housing needs and requirements were tive of the community as they include 10 former leprosy clearly communicated to the design team. sufferers, which account for 25% of the total former For this, interactive community engagement sessions leprosy sufferers in the community. were organized between the architect and community Old-houses are characterized by inadequate open members with discussions facilitated using physical spaces without provision for future extensions or family models of the houses (Figure 5). Figure 1. Typical Type-1: Old-houses exteriors and interiors. BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 579 Phase 3: Project implementation: Houses were built (Preiser, 1995; Sanni-Anibire et al., 2016) in the selected with the help of local contractors and craftsmen, along case-study. Qualitative case-studies provide useful with homeowners’ participation in brick laying, prep- insights into complex social phenomenon (Yin, 2014), aration of floor tiles from local industry wastes, curing that can serve as evidence for validating or refuting criti- of concrete, etc. This helped in engaging homeowners cal theoretical framings (Flyvbjerg, 2006). Whilst case- while also providing a means for income-generation studies may not be suited for broader statistical general- through their economic participation. Figure 6 shows izations, Stevenson (2019) argues that even a single case- two Co-design houses, with front and back courtyards. study of one home can validate a BPE if it provides Phase 4: Evaluation and re-design: In the first phase, insight into key issues for the housing sector. four houses were constructed and handed over to the The POE for the present study included a mixed- residents. Post-occupancy feedback highlighted that methods approach to collect data, using environmental the homeowners were dissatisfied with open courtyard monitoring, questionnaire surveys, transect walks, pho- spaces. Consequently, the house design was altered to tography, semi-structured interviews, and a focus group meet homeowners’ requirements. Based on this evalu- discussion (FGD). Occupant questionnaire surveys were ation, two further houses were constructed in the conducted in the 15 case-study households with 22 second phase. respondents. Table 1 provides details of the selected variables for quantitative analysis. A standard thermal comfort survey using ASHRAE 7-point scale (Sharmin Data collection and analysis and Steemers, 2018) was conducted with immediate An indicative POE was carried out to identify major measurements of air temperature, relative humidity, achievements and drawbacks of building performance wind speed and mean radiant temperatures using Figure 2. (a) Typical New-build house, (b) Entry, (c) Windowless bedroom, (d) Windowless living room, (e) Typical living room. 580 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID Figure 3. Front courtyard and entry of Co-design houses: (a) Co-design_01, (b) Co-design_02, (c) Co-design_03, (d) Co-design_04. well as community residents. In line with a socio-tech- Testo 480 climatic instrument alongside three-day air temperature measurements using Tiny Tag data-loggers nical approach to POE as outlined by Chiu et al. during the hottest month in May. In addition, qualitat- (2014) and Stevenson (2019), the key interview ques- ive variables based on user perceptions of thermal tions and FGD focused on user requirements and satis- comfort and house satisfaction were also included (see faction within their spatial precinct, involvement in the Table 1). participatory design process and wider community life. Owing to the small sample size, the results from the Consequently, questions were structured around under- quantitative survey cannot be generalized as a represen- standing daily spatial practices in relation to housing tative indication of occupant’s housing satisfaction in layout and recognizing individual circumstances and the community. Rather, the analysis was used as a start- reasons for relocation/migration, social acceptance ing point to explore the relationship between spatial within and outside the community, and access to edu- design and user satisfaction. This then guided specific cation and other facilities within the community. directions of enquiry in the qualitative interviews for Some questions presented in Table 3 initiated the dis- more in-depth analysis of variations in satisfaction cussion for more in-depth enquiry. The semi-structured levels between house types. The survey data showed approach allowed for adaptation to each situation, lead- interesting differences in occupants’ satisfaction levels ing to more in-depth socio-spatial analysis. Interviews between the house types but also revealed somewhat were later translated and transcribed into English. conflicting results when compared with physical evalu- Analysis of interviews and focus group data was con- ation, environmental monitoring, and socio-cultural ducted using an inductive bottom-up approach with practices. Triangulation with qualitative analysis of iterative qualitative coding cycles following literature interviews and FGD helped explain apparent conflicts, guidelines (Miles et al., 2014; Saldana, 2015), which as elaborated in the Findings section. This approach is was then used to identify major themes. Coding is a in line with previous studies (Gupta and Chandiwala, qualitative data analysis technique whereby a detailed 2010; Stevenson, 2019) that emphasize the use of quali- reading of the text is undertaken and words or phrases tative interview data for more enriched building evalu- (labels) are assigned that symbolically designate a sum- ation as a valid scientific enquiry. mative, salient, essence-capturing or evocative attribute/ Semi-structured interviews were conducted in Hindi meaning to data (Saldana, 2015). A first-cycle line-by- with 22 residents (of which 8 were men), lasting line qualitative coding analysis of the data was followed between 60–90 min. Within qualitative studies, sample by a second cycle coding. Various types of deductive, sizes of 10 or more are generally considered sufficient descriptive, and thematic codes were used during the for detailed thematic analysis (Corbin and Strauss, cyclic process (e.g. spatial conflicts, negotiations of 2008; Galvin, 2015), since the objective is theory struc- space, problems with courtyards, changing expectations, turation and/or evidence of falsification, rather than cultural norms, etc.) which were then used to draw out statistical generalizability. In addition to interviews, a major themes. Coding was carried out iteratively by the focus group was arranged between the various stake- authors through periodic discussions and exchange of holders involved in the community housing project, notes to allow for reflection and review, which then including the architects, researchers, construction con- led to agreement on the key coding categories that tractor, charity representatives, community leaders as defined the overarching themes. BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 581 Figure 4. Various stages and timeline of the participatory design approach. Results different house types. Key results from the quantitative This section presents the results of the quantitative data analysis are presented below: analysis from environmental monitoring and the home- The air temperature profile monitored during a 3- owners’ questionnaire survey on thermal satisfaction in day period in May (Table 2) across the house types Figure 5. Architect showing small-scale model of an individual house to community members during community engagement session. 582 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID Figure 6. Co-design_03: (a) Section, (b) Plan; Co-design_04: (c) Section, (d) Plan. showed a temperature variation between 30.7°C (Co- context (Udaykumar and Rajasekar, 2015), which design_2) and 47.6°C (Old-house_01). These tempera- prompted the more detailed qualitative research. Quantitative environmental analysis presented in ture ranges are well above the local thermal comfort range of 25.0°C–31.0°C in summer, as suggested by Figure 8 revealed that house types differed significantly Udaykumar and Rajasekar (2015) for the hot-dry cli- in: level of housing satisfaction/happiness, thermal mate of Ahmedabad. The Thermal Sensation Vote acceptability, adequate daylighting and adequate venti- (TSV) from the questionnaire survey (Figure 7) showed lation. In terms of thermal acceptability, Old_houses that 100% of the residents in the Co-design houses were were considered mostly unacceptable with only 22% comfortable, despite the very high average indoor temp- homeowners indicating thermal acceptability. The use eratures (37.1°C). For the New-builds, approximately of corrugated tin roof made the thermal situation one-third of the residents felt comfortable, with the worse. Both New-build and Co-design homeowners remaining feeling warm, in an average indoor tempera- were satisfied with the level of thermal protection pro- ture of 37.0°C. From the Old-houses that showed an vided by improved construction. Some of the rooms average indoor temperature of 40.6°C, 77.8% of the resi- (including bedrooms, living rooms or prayer rooms) dents indicated that they felt hot while 22.2% felt warm. in the New-build houses did not have any window The residents showed higher temperature tolerance openings resulting in 78% and 89% satisfaction with compared to previous studies in a similar climatic daylighting and ventilation, respectively. Similarly, in Table 1. Selected variables to understand house design Table 3. Satisfaction with community and neighbourhood performance. facilities. Variables (User Do you feel a part of your neighbourhood/block? Yes – 100% perception) Description Response How many neighbours do you feel you know well? 113 – 100% Thermal comfort Thermal sensation on −3 = Cold, −2 = Cool, [numerical answer] traditional ASHRAE 7- −1 = Slightly cool, 0 Do you feel able to live independently in this Yes – 32%, No – point scale = Neutral, +1 = neighbourhood? 68% Slightly warm, +2 = Do you feel it is safe for children to play outside? Yes – 100% Warm, +3 = Hot Do you feel your home gives you adequate privacy? Yes – 100% Overall happiness Are you happy with the 0 = no, 1 = yes Do you feel disturbed by noise from neighbours and the No – 100% with living quality overall living quality of outside? of the houses the houses? Do you feel your neighbourhood gives you opportunities Yes – 100% Thermal Is the thermal condition 0 = no, 1 = yes to stop and talk with people regularly? acceptability during the interview Do you feel like you can get to local amenities easily in Yes – 100% period acceptable to this neighbourhood? you? Do you feel you can access spaces for recreation easily in Yes – 100% Adequate Does the house have 0 = no, 1 = yes this neighbourhood? daylighting adequate daylighting? Do you feel you have a say in your neighbourhood? Yes – 100% Adequate ventilation Does the house have 0 = no, 1 = yes Are you happy with the neighbourhood facilities (like Yes – 100% adequate ventilation? schools, hospitals, shops, recreational facilities)? BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 583 Table 2. Air temperature profile of the house types during 3-day measurements and mean instantaneous temperature during the questionnaire survey. Co- Co- Co- Old- Old- Old- Old- Old- New- New- New- New- House type design_01 design_02 design_03 house_01 house_02 house_03 house_04 house_05 build_01 build_02 build_03 build_04 Average – 3-day measurement 37.1 34.8 35.4 37.2 35.4 36.7 37.2 37.6 37.0 35.2 38.4 36.8 Minimum – 3-day measurement 34.4 30.7 32.6 32.6 32.6 34.2 33.5 34.6 35.7 33.2 35.5 35.6 Maximum – 3-day measurement 40.6 36.2 38.8 47.6 41.0 40.3 43.5 41.9 37.9 36.7 41.3 37.9 Mean instantaneous temperature during 37.3 36.4 37.6 40.6 37.9 41.5 41.1 41.9 36.4 36.5 38.4 36.7 questionnaire survey 584 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID overwhelmed with more pressing issues such as flood- ing; issues related to community facilities were deemed insignificant. Findings Drawing on the results from the questionnaire survey, this section presents findings of the qualitative analysis of the interview and focus group data. A socio-technical analysis of the house design, homeowners’ perceptions and use of domestic spaces and the underlying socio- Figure 7. Percentage frequency for the TSV across different cultural context helped reveal three key themes that house types. shed light on the performance of low-income housing in the case-study, discussed below. the Old_houses, the main living/bedroom had no win- dow openings and daylighting. This meant that artificial Courtyards and contestations lighting was essential in the inner rooms for both house types, as observed during the survey. In contrast, Co- Traditionally, courtyards were seen as inseparable design houses performed well in terms of daylighting elements in the hot-dry climate of Ahmedabad. Inner and homeowners expressed satisfaction with the overall courtyards often worked as an extension of the kitchen lighting conditions. The least amount of ventilation was and bedrooms to provide space for activities that experienced in Old_houses due to the absence of win- required privacy, such as bathing, washing, and sleeping dows in the main bedroom. Whereas in the New-build for women, etc. Front courtyards often acted as an out- houses, even without any window openings in the door extension of the house and provided a sleeping inner rooms, greater thermal comfort was achieved on area for men (Miyaoka et al., 2014). In the present the ground floor compared to the first floor due to study, interviews with homeowners revealed that priv- double-storey construction and greater wall thickness. acy was not a major concern in the community. Most The Co-design houses, on the other hand, had ample residents were accustomed to sleeping outdoors during air circulation due to careful design of cross-ventilation the summer. Although Old_houses did not have through the courtyards and ventilation shafts (Figure 6). internal courtyards, the front street-space was used for Respondents were also questioned regarding their social and economic activities during daytime and for satisfaction wider community and neighbourhood sleeping at night. In New-build houses that were devoid facilities (Table 3). A binary scale (yes/no) was used, of courtyards, sleeping areas were moved from the and the overall response was found highly positive. All ground level to the roof. In line with these socio-cultural respondents felt that they were an integral part of the norms, a front courtyard was incorporated in all Co- neighbourhood and well-acquainted with other com- design (01–06) houses to preserve local customs and munity members. Nearly 70% thought they could not encourage economic activities. Additionally, backyards live without help from each other. 32% respondents were incorporated in Co-design houses (01 and 03) (mostly those who had built their own houses and had for privacy and space for washing clothes and utensils, relatively more stable incomes) were confident in living etc. (Figure 9(a,b)). Co-design_04 originally had an independently. They all agreed that the area was safe for internal courtyard, and a front courtyard was added children to play outside. The notion of privacy and noise during upgradation (Figure 9(c,d)). pollution was not clear to them – these did not appear to These additions by the architect were further incor- be issues of concern. During site visits, privacy barriers porated to facilitate natural ventilation, improve day- between neighbours were observed to be small and lighting and reduce peak temperatures experienced homeowners were well accustomed to neighbours visit- during Ahmedabad’s harsh summers (as shown in ing throughout the day. Respondents were content with Figures 6 and 10). Further, large window-cum-door local amenities, recreation, and other neighbourhood openings (Figure 9(c)) were added to enhance cross- facilities (such as a school and hospital, etc.). Overall, ventilation and could be folded aside to open the they had very little expectations from the wider commu- interiors completely to the outdoors. nity due to their long-term exclusion and discrimi- Whilst the social and functional value of the court- nation from leprosy. Further, during the interviews, it yards was appreciated, findings from the interviews was revealed that because homeowners were generally and FGD revealed that residents were not satisfied BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 585 Figure 8. Percentage of respondents who agree with satisfaction statement. with the front and back courtyards of their houses. For homeowners as creating an uncomfortable windy example, Rani , who lived in Co-design_02, used her indoor environment. For instance, Suneeta (Co- courtyard for income-generating activities and socializ- design_01), when asked about her preference for any ing. However, she intended to sacrifice this open space design alterations, mentioned: “Yes, if I get the means for a new kitchen since she believed that the new layout in future, I will include the front-yard and backyard in did not meet the requirements of her large family: the indoor spaces”. In addition, the foldable window- cum-door design (Figure 10) was not welcome by “I cannot keep my children with me due to lack of space most residents as they feared it would not provide in the house. They live with my mother in a separate necessary weather protection during heavy monsoon city. There is no sleeping space for six people in the rains. house, let alone storage space. I would like to convert Such misconceptions attached with new design tech- the front courtyard into a kitchen after keeping mini- mal space for entry. I would also like to reduce the nologies together with increased socio-cultural require- front opening and possibly replace the folding door, ments for indoor space meant that most homeowners which cannot protect from the driving rain during the had misgivings about open courtyard spaces, even monsoon”. when they appreciated the improved lighting and ther- The backyard, essential for maintaining cross-venti- mal comfort this configuration provided. Homeowners’ lation throughout the house, was regarded by some discontent with the open house spaces mainly stemmed Figure 9. (a) Backyard in Co-design_01, (b) Backyard in Co-design_03, (c) Internal courtyard in Co-design_04, (d) Front-yard in Co- design_04. 586 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID Figure 10. Airy and well-daylit interiors in (a) DMU-new-build_01, (b) DMU-new-build_03. from their existing conceptions and use of outdoor with courtyards, the architect was compelled to exclude (public) spaces. Since the Old_houses did not include the backyard in lieu of an additional room in the two lat- any open courtyard spaces, most homeowners regarded ter houses (5 and 6), compromising the initial design. In the adjoining street-space in front of their house as part these two cases, the architect devised an alternative of their personal territory. This open outdoor space was strategy to allow for some lighting and ventilation in often used by women during daytime for income-gener- the back room by raising it 10 in. above the front. ating activities, household chores such as washing and Such deviations in design point to the conflicting drying as well as other social activities. It was also demands of comfort and space use that must be con- used by the children for playing and for sleeping out- sidered and negotiated in low-income housing design. doors at night. According to Bhavna, resident of an Old-house and a beggar by profession: Social expectations of space During hot hours of the day, we go outside and sit under the shade in the field. We sleep and eat outside Negative perceptions attached with courtyard spaces - come in the house to cook food. It is just too hot to were further substantiated by homeowner’s desire for sleep in the house. We only eat inside during winters greater indoor spaces under changing consumption or when it is raining. characteristics and increasing material dependence. Since homeowners were used to performing various Most homeowners residing in Co-design houses domestic activities in the (public) outdoor spaces of expressed a need for greater storage space. Inadequate adjoining neighbourhood streets and other community storage facilities were highlighted as a critical factor in areas (Figure 11) beyond the boundaries of their own the POE and ultimately affected the efficiency of the houses, the provision of a front courtyard in Co-design interior layout. houses, within their property lines, was considered a This additional demand for storage space was a result waste for what could be extended indoor space for sto- of the changing socio-cultural expectations attached to rage or accommodating guests, etc. The only alteration the elevated social status from owning a newly rebuilt to this sleeping/eating culture existed for the New-build house. This was seen in the case of Suneeta, sole occu- inhabitants in the form of roof terraces, often used for pant of Co-design_01. A street beggar by profession, sleeping during hot summers. Suneeta had minimal belongings to store in the house These examples revealed that ownership was associ- due to her poverty-stricken situation (Figure 12(a,b)). ated only with indoor household spaces in the commu- However, her newly elevated status meant that she nity; wherein public outdoor spaces were encroached now had several relatives visiting and staying with her for various household activities that require perform- for extended periods. During multiple visits for inter- ance outdoors. This resulted in conflicts between home- views, the house was observed to be frequently occupied owners‘ lack of demand for courtyard spaces within plot by her daughter’s family and even relatives from distant boundaries on the one hand, and the provision of ade- villages. This suggests that the new house became a sym- quate lighting, ventilation and passive thermal comfort bol of social status for the homeowners. For the margin- on the other. Due to the negative connotations attached alized members of this community who had suffered BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 587 Figure 11. Income-generating activities in public spaces: (a) by homeowner Co-design_02 before new construction, (b) other com- munity members long periods of social exclusion because of leprosy, the space more urgently. If a guest visits us, we have a serious space issue. newly built houses represented a shift towards social inclusion and integration. Their houses hence became Such examples show that the new house design resulted a symbol of pride and reclaimed social standing. In in changing household dynamics with an insurgence of light of these social imaginaries and expectations, extended family members, leading to greater use of and although the interior space was more than adequate expectation for space. for a single person, Suneeta was disappointed with the The participatory design of the new houses had pri- provision of a backyard in her house and claimed that marily focused on the environmental characteristics of ‘the backyard blows in dirt’– which essentially meant the house spatial configuration, prioritizing improved higher natural ventilation and had no apparent conflict thermal comfort. However, for the community resi- with the design of the space. Although this open space at dents, these houses had come to symbolize social pres- the exterior was designed for privacy and improved tige and acceptance in the wider society. Hence, environmental conditions; Suneeta considered it a architecture acted as a material manifestation of home- waste which, in her opinion, could have otherwise owners’ social reintegration, and design became a been used to extend the indoor space to accommodate means for reifying and reconstructing a respectable pos- her relatives. ition in society. Consequently, this resulted in home- Similarly, when comparing the size of her new house owners’ greater expectations of indoor space use and (Co-design_02) with the old, Rani felt that both houses demand for expanding house sizes with implications provided a similar amount of space despite the new for the wider community. This changing landscape of house being nearly twice the size of her previous the neighbourhood under homeowners’ changing house. She complained about the lack of adequate sto- socio-cultural dynamics needs to be accounted for in rage space and the small size of the toilet and bath future participatory approaches. (Figure 12(c,d)). Another example of this was seen in the case of homeowners of Co-design_03, who remained unconvinced that the new house provided Negotiations of agency in spatial use and design more space compared to their previous accommo- Negotiations of power and spatial agency in the com- dation, although they were able to divide the living/ munity can be further understood when placed in the sleeping room into two separate spaces to allow for priv- broader landscape of informal development in India. acy for their female relatives, as claimed by the daughter As Datta (2008) suggests, it is important to examine Nirmala: low-income housing architecture for the ways that it is We would prefer an additional indoor space instead of produced by multi-scalar actors. Typical informal settle- the backyard. Also, because the backyard is at a differ- ments in India feature unstable housing structures, inse- ent floor level than the living areas, we cannot use cure tenure, insufficient living area, and poor access to this for sleeping purposes. Storage is a big problem as basic amenities (Li et al., 2021). Deprivation of space well. I would be very happy if [the architect] changes and resources therefore result in social conflicts across the courtyard into a room. Although there will be pro- blem of ventilation, we would sacrifice that as we need different stakeholder groups. Institutional and fiscal 588 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID Figure 12. (a), (b) Adequate storage facilities for a single person at Co-design_01, (c), (d) Inadequate storage facilities for a family of 6 at Co-design_02, (e) Inadequate storage facilities for a family of 3 at Co-design_03. challenges associated with slum rehabilitation and spatial ownership. Homeowners of the Co-design development often result in exclusionary policies and houses, while experiencing better living conditions lack of appropriate planning regulations (Hingorani, under their recently upgraded housing, still faced econ- 2011). Consequently, in-situ slum upgradation has omic constraints as their financial situation, for the most gained popularity in India, with a shift from strong cen- part, remained unchanged. As such, stakeholders from tralized government intervention to reliance on civil these two housing types had limited spatial agency. society, market rationality, local urban governance and On the contrary, residents of New-builds, with their bet- individual responsibility (Hingorani, 2011; Li et al., ter resources and housing conditions, dominated the 2021). In the present case, this has meant that the gov- spatial territory of the community. ernment has played a passive role in the development of Instead of opposing such spatial encroachment, resi- the case-study community, leaving it to individual dents of the former two housing types aspired to do the homeowners to ensure housing and community devel- same. During the FGD, it became apparent that com- opment. In terms of government regulation, the only munity residents favoured the design of the multi-stor- restrictions enforced to allow for ownership of housing ied New-builds with their ample indoor spaces, personal so long as inhabitants continue to occupy their houses, verandas, and roof terraces. In particular, the commu- and ownership ceases if the inhabitants decide to leave nity leader was thoroughly convinced with the approach the community. With no other planning regulations in of maximizing indoor space, justifying it on the basis of place, analysis revealed that spatial agency became a social customs whereby (male) children are expected to matter of power dynamics between the residents of move-in with the parents to take financial responsibility the three different housing types. Old-house residents, of the family. Since the original houses were designed as being the most vulnerable, had access to only the very single-family accommodations, multi-family require- basic amenities with no means to upgrade and expand ments could only be accommodated through vertical BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 589 expansion. In the absence of state control through ade- be critical unless a proper strategy for planned future quate planning legislation and building regulation, growth was put in place. houses were expanded to their vertical and horizontal limits on the homeowners’ discretion based on personal Discussion means, often encroaching on public spaces, and inhibit- ing most solar/daylight access. Other stakeholders The POE undertaken in this study identified several involved in the community design, such as local char- positive and negative factors in participation and design ities and international volunteer agencies, although of the new houses. Compared to the existing houses, actively involved in providing community support, Co-design houses provided improved thermal comfort, had no authority or law-enforcement capacity to control adequate daylighting, reduced flood-risk and increased the physical growth of the community. Further, budget- habitable indoor/outdoor spaces, as revealed from the ary constraints acted as a major hurdle in negotiations POE environmental monitoring and quantitative analy- of space within the house and beyond, as highlighted sis. Whilst the overall living conditions improved sig- by the architect: nificantly in the new houses, qualitative analysis shows that important aspects like household density and future I accept the fact that the residents are not fully happy about all aspects of design. They do not have full idea expansion prospects were not given due consideration. about the limited resources we had to work with! We Other drawbacks associated with the design included even counted the pieces of bricks required for construc- lack of adequate space for sleeping and storage that tion to save money and to keep within the budget. partly originated from increased functional require- In addition, it became evident from the FGD that resi- ments due to household composition and partly from dents had no clear vision for the future growth of the increased expectations for indoor space and individua- community. Those with a steady income source lized facilities in the new houses. expanded their houses, to maximize occupancy without POE revealed the improved environmental perform- considering the quality of spaces being produced. This ance of the new houses, resulting from the design of resulted in reduced ventilation and solar access in the comfortable and sociable adjoining courtyard spaces, neighbourhood streets, which in turn had consequences incorporated as a traditional architectural and environ- for the quality of the indoor environment (Figure 13). In mental solution. However, these spaces were perceived this, marginalized community members that lacked a to be undesirable, unprofitable, and impractical by the proper income source (including beggars and the dis- homeowners who lacked knowledge and understanding abled), had limited agency without the means to expand of passive design and environmental strategies. The their houses. This shows that although participatory architect’s decision to exclude backyards in the sub- approach can be potentially empowering, involving: sequent houses was based on homeowners’ increased ‘multi-dimensional social process that helps people demands for indoor space, compromising on environ- gain control over their own lives’ (Page and Czuba, mental and social performance. The study shows that 1999), the notion of empowerment can be lost due to in the absence of regulatory mechanisms, government the dominance of more capable members of the com- policies and top-down support for low-income housing, munity. Among the 113 households in the community, homeowners tend to focus on short-term individual almost half had been rebuilt by the homeowners benefits to the detriment of the larger community. through intrusion of adjoining neighbourhood spaces. This has inimical consequences for the quality of life, Since houses were originally built without provision health, and well-being of the homeowners themselves. for expansion, continuation of this trend would inevita- Consequently, under the confinements of a limited pol- bly result in inadequate access to air and light in the icy and planning landscape, bottom-up participatory community houses. Further increase in household den- design approaches have limited agency for long-term sity would lead to environmental degradation resulting sustainable transitions. These findings corroborate in adverse effects on the residents’ health and well- other studies in the Indian context that demonstrate being. Moreover, unplanned growth would mean the challenges of bottom-up approaches under the fail- depletion of soft land and outdoor recreation areas. ure of top-down processes (Hingorani, 2011; Li et al., This would further aggravate drainage issues and flood- 2021), advocating for a middle-ground approach ing. Although new houses were built on high plinths, (Tiwari et al., 2021). this elevation would be insufficient to deal with rising Further, the study shows that although a participa- flood levels, specifically if the drainage system failed to tory design approach can lead to improved user satisfac- meet growing demands. Hence, flooding risks could tion, it can have contradictory outcomes in terms of 590 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID Figure 13. Obstruction of light and ventilation and encroachment of common spaces through unplanned building of Type-2: New- build houses. environmental concerns and sustainability. Previous incremental development (Nix et al., 2019) for research has shown that participants’ short-sightedness improved sustainability. and self-interests can reduce the capacity of participa- The small sample of survey data and co-designed tory design to address issues of environmental risks houses in this study limits the statistical applicability of and poverty (Sanoff, 1999). In low-income, vulnerable, the occupant satisfaction results. Further quantitative and marginalized communities, these risks and contra- research is needed to determine occupant satisfaction at dictions can be exacerbated due to lack of knowledge scale. However, findings from the qualitative analysis and environmental awareness, the need for fulfilling show that performance evaluations of housing for low- basic requirements and aspirations to climb the social income, marginalized communities require detailed con- ladder. In the present case, under such constraints, textualized analysis of what works and what doesn’t. whilst the participatory design approach was able to Further, POEs should not only focus on the end-design influence house design for improved space and comfort, and user satisfaction, but also on providing assessments it was unable to convey the significance of investing in of the design process itself and engagement with various community-based, shared spaces and to meaningfully stakeholders. In this, participatory design should be engage participants in community development understood as a ‘situated social process’ (Jones and through setting long-term planning objectives. Our SPEECH, 2001,p.34) basedon ideas of ‘empowered par- findings indicate that in addition to considering occu- ticipation’ (Fung, 2005) in which capacity building, train- pants’ cultural practices in housing design (Shove ing, education, and skills development of participants goes et al., 2008), low-income housing development policies hand in hand with energy and housing finance initiatives, should take account of occupants’ future socio-econ- better collaboration and engagement with government omic needs, such as expanding family sizes, social net- authorities and improved POE procedures. works and increased economic participation through home-based activities. This can be ensured by incorpor- Conclusions ating flexibility and adaptability in housing layouts (Garrefa et al., 2021), understanding energy ‘redun- This research addresses a significant gap in the post- dancy’ (Stevenson et al., 2016), and provisions for occupancy and participatory design evaluation of low- BUILDING RESEARCH & INFORMATION 591 income housing in developing countries by conducting contextual socio-cultural requirements and plan for an in-depth assessment of the architectural design and future socio-economic growth. In this, participatory homeowners’ use of and satisfaction with domestic governance (Schneider, 1999) that allows inclusive spaces. The study is carried out for a unique social development through stakeholder integration within group subjected to social stigma, discrimination, and more stringent planning regulations can result in exclusion due to leprosy. POE studies for such margin- more sustainable development. In this regard, recent alized groups are rare. The study uses both qualitative reforms in ownership laws in informal settlements in and quantitative techniques in a socio-technical India is a step in the right direction to help improve approach to provide a robust analysis of the impact of spatial planning and curtail encroachment. architectural design and the participatory design The study also raises questions about how best to uti- approach used on homeowners’ thermal satisfaction lize POEs and occupant feedback. In the present case, and space use. owing to the incremental nature of the participatory Owing to the unique nature of the case-study, it may design project, the POE was able to inform the sub- be difficult to generalize findings to the wider domestic sequent housing design, which may not be the case in sector. However, the study contributes theoretically and most mass-scale social housing development. This indi- methodologically to the literature on BPEs for low- cates that understanding the processual nature of POEs income housing in two ways: First, it shows that com- is as important as determining their content. It also bining POE with participatory design methods can shows that a BPE approach that incorporates smaller, improve understandings of occupants housing needs incremental and affordable demonstration projects in while also revealing the various hierarchical agencies housing development can take account of localized in participation and power dynamics within the built socio-cultural contexts and be better optimized (Steven- environment. This has consequences for occupant satis- son and Baborska-Narozny, 2018). faction and so, a combined approach can provide the means to transform power relations that can ultimately improve building performance and housing sustainabil- Notes ity. It also reveals the intermediary role that researchers 1. Pseudonyms are used in place of real names throughout and architects can play between end-users and develo- the paper as per interview ethical guidelines. pers/policymakers to improve housing performance 2. As per The National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recog- nition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised and development (Garrefa et al., 2021; Janda and Colonies) Bill, 2019, see https://prsindia.org/billtrack/ Parag, 2013). the-national-capital-territory-of-delhi-recognition-of- Second, it further substantiates empirically the need property-rights-of-residents-in-unauthorised-colonies- for a socio-technical approach in POE, as advocated bill-2019 by Chiu et al. (2014) and Stevenson (2019). It reveals 3. Environmental monitoring for Co-design _04 could not that even when occupants are engaged throughout a be carried out due to logistics issues. participatory design process at the various stages of pre-construction, building and post-occupation, satis- faction levels may still vary. This is because even though Acknowledgements buildings may be designed to function better environ- This paper is an output from Research England QR-GCRF mentally, occupants may develop unforeseen expec- project, ‘Socio-cultural and environmental experiences in tations of higher levels of comfort, convenience and low-income, tropical housing’ at the Architecture Research Institute, De Montfort University, UK. The authors would satisfaction as a ‘rebound’ effect to improved building also like to thank Dhrupad Shukla and Sagar Odedra for the design. Previous studies have described this rebound images of community discussions and SEALAB Architects effect in terms of higher levels of thermal comfort for the discussions, design drawings and model photos. (Haas and Biermayr, 2000; Sorrell et al., 2009) or greater use of energy fuels and services (Greening et al., 2000; Khazzoom, 1980). Our study adds to this conceptualiz- Disclosure statement ation of rebound effects in terms of higher expectations No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s). of social standing and social inclusion in low-income developments. This has implications for BPE research- ers and policymakers alike. Moving beyond the mantra Funding of meeting basic shelter requirements, low-income housing policies should take a socio-technical approach This work was supported by Research England QR-GCRF De to integrate environmental standards with occupants’ Montfort University. 592 T. SHARMIN AND R. KHALID Davis, S. (1995). 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Building Research & InformationTaylor & Francis

Published: Jul 4, 2022

Keywords: Post-occupancy evaluation; participatory design; low-income housing; end-users’ satisfaction; Global South

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