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Adaptable housing areas: Improved quality with less space

By : Eli Stoa

Does adaptability contribute to increased space efficiency in the housing sector? Does it improve housing quality in dense housing areas and increase the demand for a more sustainable housing?
The answers to these questions are sought in three case studies of small, low, and dense Norwegian housing areas. The areas are located 5-8 km from the centre of the three Norwegian cities Oslo, Tromsø, and Trondheim. They exemplify different kinds of adaptability:
Disengrenda in Oslo:
Extendibility by adding new space to existing row houses and by using common premises as “buffer zones” for small private units
Reinen in Tromsø:
Dynamic apartments where two units can be joined together or used separately without rebuilding
Sjøveien in Trondheim:
Extendibility through making use of secondary space in basements and attics, and flexibility through rebuilding of existing apartments
The conclusions are that extendibility both by making use of secondary space and by common premises affect the experience of housing quality and contributes to the fact that large households with children choose to stay instead of moving to single family houses that are less space efficient. We also find that the dynamic model with rental units added to owner apartments provides the most direct means for increasing the space efficiency.

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