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How can single-family home residential districts be sustainably developed?

Background

Residential estates occupied by single-family
homes are widely regarded as the main driver behind
excessive land use, urban sprawl, energy waste and the
rising traffic volumes in conurbations. However, broad
sections of the population (at least at certain stages in life)
clearly view houses, as opposed to apartments, as the ideal
way to live. Hence, a decline in demand appears highly
unlikely in the medium to long term. This raises the question
as to how existing and future single-family residential
estates may be better reconciled with the goals of sustainable
urban development.

Objectives

The project will examine various scenarios in
order to identify the potential offered by single-family
homes with regard to predetermined objectives for sustainable
urban development, and to evaluate this potential using
specific assessment methods. The working hypothesis is that
residential estates comprising single-family homes will generally
be able to meet these goals by adopting additional
functions (e.g. of an ecological nature), using existing infrastructure
more efficiently, making greater allowance for
shifting lifestyles and living habits, and adapting in line with
a revised planning framework.

Methods

The research hypothesis is to be tested using the
Zurich Oberland area. Characterized by spatial variety,
a high degree of urbanization and land-intensive development,
this region is typical of settlement patterns in
Switzerland. The sustainability potential of developments of
single-family homes will be investigated by modelling and
comparing a range of possible future scenarios. This will
allow conclusions to be drawn on the benefits and drawbacks
of specific development strategies. The ascertained differences
will be used to develop and formulate sustainability
indicators. The adopted procedure will be interactive insofar
as the general nature of the scenarios will reflect acknowledged
existing sustainability criteria.

Significance

The research project sets out to pinpoint
options – not available under the existing framework – for
sustainable settlement development strategies that include
single-family homes. It will also contribute to the evolution
of sustainability assessment techniques. In addition, it will
provide considerable impetus for tackling more general
issues connected with spatial development in Switzerland.

Project title: Strategies for the sustainable development of singlefamily
housing

Grant: CHF 245 442.–
Duration: 24 months

Prof. Dr. Max Bosshard
ZHW, Center for Urban Landscape
Tössfeldstrasse 11
8401 Winterthur
Tel 052 267 76 05
boh@zhwin.ch



Documents:

  Poster (8652KB) 23.03.2007    open >

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