Solving settlement and likewise housing problems of socially vulnerable Romani in Belgrade and Serbia still has not found the right design approach. In contemporary plural society, it is a process of interaction of theoretical and practical tryouts set beyond the disciplinary limits. Insufficient awareness on Romani lifestyle elaborated in Romanypen, i.e. the Romani cultural system causes a lack of methods, techniques and tools to choose from and develop for this untangled complex problem. The intent of this article is to show that a collective lifestyle represents the essence needed for developing adequate design decisions of Romani settlements, thus fulfilling the potential for improving adequate housing solutions.
The study starts on the assumption that in Romani settlements there is a strongly rooted relation between spatial and social level that enables an understanding of what this cultural group produces as its own place. The urban pattern of Romani settlements do not have an institutionally imposed organization; they are formed by the Romani themselves, by reflex rooted in needs of everyday life activities and consequently organized and built through inherited knowledge and skills. The subject of this study is aimed at recognizing and thus establishing spatial expressions of the Romani collective lifestyle in three types of Belgrade Romani settlements that, according to the differences in their inner habitational pattern, display a representative model. It is based on the field analysis of five already created and developed unplanned settlements in Belgrade through observing and residing within them and by talking and questioning to their residents.
This study shows that the key to understanding existing urban and architectural patterns, as well as the potential for future design actions lies in reading out the processes of everyday life. Then, it demonstrates a tool that has a potential to divert previous housing politics towards a revitalization of design in relation to social profiles specificities. At the end, the study opens a path to creating adequate architectural and urban parameters for housing care in accordance to the lifestyle acceptable for each and every socially perceptible group.
Keywords: Romani Settlements, Housing, User Orientation, Lifestyle, Romanypen
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