Women's Spatial Needs in Housing: Accomodating Gender Ideologies, Use Patterns, and Privacy

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Title: Women's Spatial Needs in Housing: Accomodating Gender Ideologies, Use Patterns, and Privacy
Author: Toker, Zeynep
Advisors: FRANK J. SMITH, Committee Member
MARY B. WYER, Committee Member
PERVER K. BARAN, Committee Member
HENRY SANOFF, Committee Chair
Abstract: Today, the conventional households, which are composed of a breadwinning husband, a homemaking wife, and children, constitute only 9% of the population in the United States. However, housing is still designed to accommodate the conventional households. As the contemporary roles of women have evolved with the transformation of household types form conventional to unconventional, the time women spent for housework has also decreased primarily due to the changes in their gender ideologies. Yet, the conventional housing design fails to accommodate contemporary women's spatial needs in their houses. Although research has been conducted to show that women's gender ideologies influence the time they spent for housework, which influences their use patterns, perception, privacy, and that different housing types are needed to accommodate the increasing number of unconventional households, research into women's spatial needs in housing has been limited. This study is an attempt to understand women's spatial needs in housing. Within a multiple case study research design, first, overall patterns of relationships among the five main concepts (women's gender ideologies, their time spent for housework, use patterns, perception, and privacy) were revealed. Second, two housing types (cohousing and neo-traditional) were compared to reveal patterns of similarities and differences in terms of these five main concepts and spatial organization in houses. Interviews, time diaries, observations, and visual documentation of the houses (floor plans and photographs) were the methods of data collection. The findings of this study indicated that women with less egalitarian gender ideologies spent higher percentage of their time at home doing housework. Different form women with more egalitarian gender ideologies, their most favorite spaces were mostly housework spaces; and their reasons for identifying the least favorite spaces were spatial qualities as much as housework that is required by or associated with those spaces. Women with less egalitarian gender ideologies established privacy in spaces, which were left over from the other members of the household, and in their absence, since they did not have their exclusive spaces in houses. The neo-traditional developments attracted women with less egalitarian gender ideologies compared to cohousing developments. Therefore, neo-traditional respondents' patterns of housework, use, perception, and privacy were similar to those of women with less egalitarian gender ideologies. The cohousing developments, however, attracted women with more egalitarian gender ideologies and accommodated patterns of sharing housework among households. The spatial organizations in cohousing and neo-traditional houses were also different from each other. The kitchen-centered houses of neo-traditional developments contained formal living rooms and formal dining rooms, which were designed to receive guests, with additional connections to the kitchen. In this floor plan type, there were also informal dining areas and informal living rooms (family rooms). However, the dining area-centered houses of cohousing developments did not contain formal rooms, but provided exclusive spaces for women in addition to spaces that accommodate specific needs of their households. Presence of exclusive spaces in cohousing developments was more typical in cohousing developments than in neo-traditional developments. The findings showed that women's needs in housing were large kitchens, adaptable laundry rooms in terms of size, location, and accommodating other uses, their own exclusive spaces for privacy, and instead of formal living rooms and formal dining rooms, adaptable spaces to accommodate changes in the life cycle of their households.
Date: 2005-04-08
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Design
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/4651


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