Social Housing and Welfare Hub
City housing primarily consists of dwellings designed for the ‘Nuclear Family’- two parents and two children, typically one of either sex. This traditional idea of a ‘family’ has long since been an inaccurate representation of our society and the diversity within it, rendering the housing that supports it ineffective and unsuitable for many. The nuclear family home also promotes the separation of people from their extended families and neighbours, and its ‘copy and paste’ design leads to its commodification. The society that is formed from this, is split into small family units that can be moved anywhere in search of work, retaining a similar standard of life in each place. This, although positive for the capitalist society, can lead to a lack of community and weakened connections between families and neighbours. A rise in urban loneliness can also be attributed to this style of living.
A study of social welfare amenities in the area around the site shows a clear lack of investment in the Barras and the Calton. This results in a community which is unable to change and improve, giving residents a poorer quality of life than elsewhere in Glasgow. This is evidenced with the census information for the district. Most of the housing in the Barras is for one or two people, which contributes to the lack of community in the area. People live alone, have nowhere to socialise with neighbours and have to travel to access essential services. The removal of the local primary school has also had a negative impact on the residents, as now children have further to travel to school and have no space for after school activities. All of the amenities studied in this project would be of benefit to the diverse family types of todays society who are currently under-provided for, as well as the existing residents of Calton. The lack of amenities, alongside the issues of inclusivity with the traditional ‘Nuclear Family Home’ formed the basis of my idea for a new housing typology.
As an alternative to the traditional ‘Nuclear Family’ housing model, I propose a social housing initiative that will create housing typologies suitable for a large range of family types currently under-provided for, all with access to shared community facilities. This welfare ‘hub’ will contain essential amenities such as a health centre, dentist, library, child care, community hall etc all within easy reach of every dwelling. This hub will also connect with the surrounding districts and encourage the blending of this new typology into the wider city. Equal access to these resources should encourage the sharing of knowledge, skills and time making for a more enjoyable and social way of living.