The Influence of Physical Changes in Communal Open Spaces on Performance Evaluation of Housing Schemes
The study investigates the relationships between physical characteristics of communal open spaces in residential environments, types of outdoor appropriation, resident satisfaction with visual appearance of buildings and outdoor spaces, and their community formation, level of maintenance and performance evaluation of housing schemes. Methodological procedures adopted in the post-occupancy evaluation of twelve housing schemes, comprised of four story blocks of flats, terrace, detached, semi-detached and row houses, located in the metropolitan area of Porto Alegre, Brazil, included questionnaires, interviews, observations, physical measurements, and GIS. Results indicate that, despite dwelling type, physical attributes of the schemes investigated, such as spatial definition, territorial control, adequacy of spaces for child’s play and for large-scale socializing and overall visual appearance, when satisfactory, positively affected residents’ attitudes and motivations to improve the scheme through physical changes and maintenance, and consequently affected social and user-environment interaction. Accordingly, discontent with the spatial arrangements on the site, conflicting uses caused by the nature of the semi-private and semi-public spaces, poor visual appearance and maintenance, were some of the factors identified as adversely affecting residents´ emotional attitudes toward the scheme and other residents, encouraging residents’ motivations for dysfunctional behavior, social conflict and further neglect. Variations on the effects of physical characteristics and type of appropriation of communal opens spaces were identified among the housing schemes formed by the different dwelling types.