Rethinking Affordable Row House Design for Multi-generational ...

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  • Title: Rethinking Affordable Row House Design for Multi-generational Lower Middle-income Families in Developing Countries: A Case Study of Bangkok, Thailand
  • Author(s): Boonanan Natakun , Nichaporn Suchai
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Design Principles & Practices
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design
  • Keywords: Multi-generational Family, Lower Middle-income Family, Row House, House Modification
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2325-1662 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-1670 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2325-1662/CGP/v13i04/17-39
  • Citation: Natakun, Boonanan , and Nichaporn Suchai. 2019. "Rethinking Affordable Row House Design for Multi-generational Lower Middle-income Families in Developing Countries: A Case Study of Bangkok, Thailand." The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design 13 (4): 17-39. doi:10.18848/2325-1662/CGP/v13i04/17-39.
  • Extent: 23 pages

Abstract

The phenomenon of urbanization has placed Bangkokians in situations with relatively limited living spaces. Middle-income nuclear families generally choose to live individually in either small condominium units in the city center or small semi-detached houses in suburban areas, with relatively little concern or care for their neighbours. Lower middle-income families, on the other hand, tend to live in Bangkok’s periphery, with their relatives where possible, sharing limited resources for basic living such as food, housing, and finances. The current study examines row house design in suburban Bangkok that typically houses lower middle-income families, with the aims of investigating how these families modify living spaces in order to support their lifestyles. Data collected via interviews, observations, and physical as well as behavioral mappings led to two key findings with respect to how lower middle-income families optimize uses of their row houses. First, they maximize the uses of both interior and exterior spaces in order to house extended family members in a way that encourages successive generations to take good and close care of each other. This suggests a return to traditional Thai reciprocal living culture where the older generations help raise grandchildren while those of working ages create income and take care of the older generations in return. Second, income-generating activities can be held at home, with minimal labor costs, allowing each family member to contribute in some ways to the overall household income. Regarding the minimal building costs that arise through small land plots and limited habitable spaces, we conclude by recommending an alternative row house design to better serve the varying and incremental needs of multi-generational lower middle-income families in Thai social context.