Building Community: Stepping Beyond Typical Large Scale Housing Development Models to Create Better Rural Communities


Community is a vital aspect of living, yet most large scale housing developments tend to focus on achieving maximum occupation rather than creating environments within which communities can grow and thrive. This paper explores the key characteristics of large scale (and post disaster) housing developments in Sri Lanka, and their impact on the culture of rural communities. This paper argues that large scale housing developments should not merely be about providing houses; instead, the focus should also be on the creation of vibrant community environments, and community living spaces. In other words, the paper argues for the significance of spaces in between and around houses, and the effect of these on the wellbeing of people and the progress of the community. The paper identifies several thresholds of 'community living space' based on traditional, cultural and livelihood practices and discusses the architectural opportunities of these and their value and significance in creating better living environments. The paper concludes with comment on the value of placing a far greater focus on community space planning and design, particularly in low cost housing developments.

Author Information
Shenuka de Sylva, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Paper Information
Conference: ACSEE2017
Stream: Social Sustainability & Sustainable Living

This paper is part of the ACSEE2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon