Meeting human needs is considered as fundamental to sustainable human settlement. However, in micro level developments
particularly in respect of a housing unit, for example, an operational definition of sustainability which will be
useful in its practical implementation, has yet to be developed. To address this, the author posits that theories on the
relationship between the environment and the person can be taken as a conceptual frame of reference. One of them
is the theory of Person-Environment Congruence (PEC). This theory conceptualizes "congruence" as the favourable outcome
of the person-environment relationship. Achieving PEC is considered as the most important criteria that supports
the concept of housing sustainability. In the context of housing, the author considers that PEC is achieved when
the dwelling place can offer its inhabitants a place which meets their basic needs. In order to operationalize this concept
in terms of housing unit design, the author propagates the use of the Means-End Chain (MEC) research model
to explore the relationship between a person and his or her environment. The combination of the two concepts facilitates
the identification of those housing attributes emphasized in the home-making process, together with the users'
perceptual orientation towards those attributes. To experiment with the application of the MEC research model in
respect of exploring the concept of PEC, a case study was conducted on 15 renovated and personalized houses in a
mass housing scheme in Malaysia. The traditional MEC methods were maintained with some modifications to accommodate
the various housing characteristics. The results suggest that the MEC research model is able to link the relevant
housing unit attributes to user values, and it is potentially applicable in the design of a housing unit. The results
also indicated that user participation is essential in home making process, in order to achieve and maintain sustainability.
Keywords : Person-Environment Congruence, Means-End Chain, Personalization, Malaysia, Sustainable Housing.
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