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JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING https://doi.org/10.1080/13467581.2022.2074021 The impact of socio-cultural factors on the transformation of house layout: a case of public housing - Zebdeh-Farkouh, in Jordan Amal Abed, Bushra Obeidat and Islam Gharaibeh Faculty of Architecture and Design, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 25 December 2021 House is a socio-cultural milieu that is strongly connected to its residents’ lifestyles; thus, any Accepted 2 May 2022 change in their way of living could be reflected in its layout. This research aimed to highlight the impact of socio-cultural factors on the internal layout of public housing residences, KEYWORDS especially with the absence of a clear policy that defines the framework of their flexibility or socio-cultural factors; spatial the scope of transformation. In order to develop a comprehensive understanding of this configuration; layout relation, six variables were addressed: social role, social network, hospitality, gender segrega- transformation; public tion, safety, and privacy. The researchers adopted a mixed-method approach involving a housing; satisfaction questionnaire survey of 202 residents and 35 face-to-face interviews along with documentation of transformed layouts. The results showed that gender segregation, privacy, social network, and safety are significant socio-cultural factors affecting internal layout transformations. The findings underline the need for a public housing policy incorporating design guidelines which suit a wide range of residents to enhance the adaptability of future projects and, consequently, promote residents’ satisfaction. 1. Introduction since its inception, including 130,114 housing units distributed in major cities (Al-Homoud and Is–haqat Housing is a major investment for families, especially 2019). since most people spend most of their time inside their Under the umbrella of HUDC, several housing pro- homes. Thus, it is essential to design houses in an jects were constructed and distributed all over the innovative way that respects their residents’ needs. country according to a mass production strategy (Al- Unfortunately, this is hard to achieve in Jordan as Homoud and Is–haqat 2019). Although this strategy there is a general mismatch between housing costs succeeded in filling the need for shelter, it didn’t pay and household income, which makes housing a chal- much attention to the residents’ preferences, values, lenge for people of middle and low income in specific and perceptions, leading to static home layouts. Such (Jbarat et al. 2021; Al-Homoud and Is–haqat 2019). layouts have minimal flexibility, which hinders the Therefore, the Jordanian government established the possibility of adjusting them to suit individuals’ func- Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDC) tional and personal comfort and promotes their satis- to provide Jordanians with affordable housing while faction at different levels (Salama 1996; Maina 2013). maintaining a balance between supply and demand, So, it would be beneficial to understand layout where it succeeded in delivering 360 housing projects CONTACT Amal Abed firstname.lastname@example.org Faculty of Architecture and Design, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the Architectural Institute of Japan, Architectural Institute of Korea and Architectural Society of China. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. 2 A. ABED ET AL. transformation in the context of public housing, iden- social and cultural aspects, as non-physical motiva- tifying transformation patterns, their significance, and tional factors, in measuring residents’ satisfaction and driving forces. assessing the suitability of public housing units’ inter- Layout transformation can be identified as a series nal layout. Many pieces of research have been dedi- cated to exploring this relation, focusing on the socio- of changes in a home layout that takes place over time cultural dimension (Rapoport 1998; Shapely 2017). For and varies from rearrangement of furniture and room instance, Rapoport emphasized the correlation colour to structural transformations like addition or between culture and layout with an extensive volume demolition of some parts of the housing units of illustrations from across the globe. These illustra- (Popkin et al. 2012; Afifi 1991; Salama 1996). In other tions confirmed the effect of cultural components words, layout transformation is related to any type and (values, beliefs, meanings, standards, norms, and size of changes, including extensions and/or altera- expectations) on shaping the built environment. tions conducted on the unit’s exterior and/or internal Similarly, the concept of culture and its applications layout (Salama 1996). These changes could be a reflec - appear not only in people’s values and beliefs, percep- tion of the physical, behavioural, environmental, social, tions, norms, and behaviours but also in the physical and cultural aspects of the residents’ needs. environment, houses, neighbourhoods, and cities Accordingly, a better understanding of this phenom- (Malkawi and Al-Qudah 2003). Therefore, the internal enon will be provided by shedding light on the rela- layouts can be either supportive or disruptive of their tionship between the motivational factors of human residents’ culture (Rapoport 2016). needs and the housing unit (van Griethuijsen et al. The motivational factors of transformations 2015; Makachia 2015). extended to include social components such as family In general, home layout transformation is a notice- structure, social networks, and kinship relations since able phenomenon whose dynamics require identifica - they affect and are affected by the spatial layout of tion in terms of cause and effect. Several researchers homes (Mullins, Western, and Broadbent 2001; Ke and discussed layout change in terms of adaptation to the Hui 2015; Askarizad 2017). The social and cultural physical and environmental aspects within different aspects could be linked to the development of the regions (Avogo, Wedam, and Opoku 2017; housing design, which is a significant determinant of Mirmoghtadaee 2009; Rapoport 1969; Shapely 2017). residents’ satisfaction (Makinde 2015). The lack of Moreover, some studies highlighted the role of cultural socio-cultural considerations reduces residents’ hous- values and beliefs in shaping home layouts in western ing satisfaction, which leads them to change their and eastern regions (Aduwo, Ibem, and Opoko 2013; homes’ layouts to create more efficient, suitable, and Collen and Hoekstra 2001; Erdoğan 2018; Zadeh and personalized spaces. Based on the previous studies, Jamshidi 2017). On the other hand, public housing was socio-cultural factors are an integral part of units’ inter- discussed thoroughly in terms of policy and economy nal layout formation. These factors include the follow- within different contexts (van Dijk 2019; Jbarat et al. ing: a) The Social Role, which entails an organized 2021). However, a few researchers attempted to inves- behavioural pattern where residents’ act as active tigate home transformation in public housing. For members in their community who also engage in col- instance, Aduwo (2011) stated that home transforma- lective social activities (Benamar, Balagué, and tion could take place due to the designs’ rigidity and Ghassany 2017; Maslow 1954; Xie and Hui 2015; minimal flexibility obstructing accommodation to the Erdoğan 2018). b) The Social Network, introduced by Maslow, refers to the social ties which evolve a sense of changing human needs. In the same vein, Avogo, solidarity and belonging among community members. Wedam, and Opoku (2017) emphasized that public The Social network consists of four elements: member- housing transformations are inevitable as a natural ship, influence, the fulfilment of needs, and shared part of life. Hence, it is essential to set out a strategy emotional connection (Maslow 1954; Sarason 1974; that addresses the shortfalls associated with the phy- Chavis et al. 1986; Benamar, Balagué, and Ghassany sical design, especially with regard to living spaces and 2017). c) Hospitality is making guests feel comfortable rooms’ sizes. Likewise, Tipple (2000) confirmed that and welcomed and treating them well. It is not only a limited space in public housing is the main reason sign of individuals’ solid social network, but also a trait residents resort to layout transformation. that is deeply rooted in Arab culture and an essential To summarize, housing units become unsuitable for part of Jordanian’s cultural values and beliefs (Erdoğan their residents’ needs in certain situations, leading to 2018; Al-Mohannadi 2019; Malkawi and Al-Qudah diverse types of layout transformation. However, most 2003). d) Gender Segregation is related to the degree studies in this context were limited to highlighting the of segregation between males and females, whether inadequacy of physical layout and the gap between within the same family or between family members residents’ needs and the specifications provided by the and guests. It is connected to privacy concerns, government. Accordingly, there is a need to include JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 3 especially in conservative countries. e) The safety of 1980–1984. It has (126) building, which classified into individuals, family members, and the neighbourhood three types of housing units; A includes (54) units, B as a whole; namely, a sense of protection experienced includes (26) units, C includes (46) units. Prototype A by residents of a particular area (Okunola and Amole and B share a similar spatial configuration but vary in 2018; Isah, Khan, and Bn Ahmad 2015; Maslow 1954). f) terms of entrances locations as shown in Figure 2). Privacy stems from human’s natural need for visual, Each building prototype consists of three-floor levels physical, and psychological space. Usually, it is an out- to include (378) units. Over a period of thirty years, the come of individuals’ cultural and religious beliefs layout of the housing units has been subject to a series (Jabareen and Carmon 2010; Fallah, Khalili, and Rasdi of transformations, as shown in Figures 1, 2, 3 and 2015; Rapoport 2016; Tomah, Ismail, and Abed 2016). Table 1. Despite the fact that concept of house transforma- The researchers adopted a mixed-method approach tion and public housing were discussed within the including the following stages: 1) The qualitative stage Jordanian context, they have been rarely investigated was built upon general observations of Zebdeh- combined. Therefore, this research focused on the Farkouh apartment buildings and interviews with resi- phenomenon of house layout transformation of public dents to identify the common forms of housing units housing in Jordan to identify its forms and highlight transformations and motivational factors. 2) The quan- the motivational factors of the internal layout transfor- titative stage was represented by a printed-form ques- mations. This study is hoped to contribute to propos- tionnaire survey completed by residents of Zebdeh- ing design policies, guidelines, and strategies that suit Farkouh public housing apartments to understand a wide range of residents and, consequently, improve the impact of socio-cultural factors on the units’ inter- the adaptability and life quality of HUDC’s future nal layout in addition to assessing residents’ satisfac- projects. tion with the units’ layout. 1) Qualitative Stage: Field observations of Zebdeh- Farkouh public housing were made to explore and 2. Materials and method document the housing units’ transformations. The alterations for (269) housing units were documented The research problem was investigated in Zebdeh- through sketches and photographs. Afterward, based Farkouh that was selected after general observation on the evident architectural alterations primarily asso- for housing projects of HUDC in Irbid City. It was ciated with socio-cultural reasons, the transformations selected according to occupancy level in terms of per- were classified into four main categories (Table 1, and centage of occupancy, length of residency, and own- Figure 3). These categories are: (1) covering balconies, ership status. Zebdeh-Farkouh, located in Al-Rabya (2) adding a private entrance, (3) expanding the floor district that constructed and designed between Figure 1. (a) Internal plans of housing units, (b) Zebdeh-Farkouh public housing master plan, (c) Different forms of layout transformations. 4 A. ABED ET AL. Figure 2. Housing units transformation. area either from the living room or the kitchen side, organization and explore the motivational factors for and (4) increasing the areas of balconies/ terraces. The such transformation. The interviews were admini- commonality of each transformation category was strated by the researchers through touring and obser- assessed and illustrated by determining their percen- ving transformations. tages compared to the total number of housing units. 2) Quantitative Stage: A structured questionnaire Also, (35) face-to-face interviews were conducted with was used to assess the relationship between units’ the residents who have and have not made changes to internal layout and socio-cultural factors. The question- their houses. This helped to understand the spatial naire consisted of three parts: i) Section 1 included JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 5 Transformation Prototype AB Prototype C categories Picture Plan Picture Plan 1. Covering balconies 2. Adding a private entrance 3. Expanding the floor area 4. Increasing the areas of balconies/ terraces Figure 3. Transformations typology. Table 1. Transformation forms. Categories of Transformation Prototype A Prototype B Prototype C General Observations 1. Covering balconies a. One balcony 23 % 28 % 19 % b. Both balconies 51 % 27 % 20 % 2. Addition of a private entrance 16 % 16 % 22 % 3. Enlargement of the floor area a. Living room side 5 % 2 % 8 % b. Kitchen side 3 % 0 % 5 % 4. Enlargement of balconies/ terraces. 20 % 16 % 25 % respondents’ demographic information; family struc- These factors include the social role (SR), social net- ture, occupation, and education. ii) Section 2 covered work (SN), hospitality (HO), gender segregation (GS), the dependent variables and discussed the internal safety (SF), and privacy (PR).(Figure 4). The definition of layout measures (factors), including the internal lay- each socio-cultural factor includes several aspects, out’s functionality (ILF) and residents’ satisfaction which were all covered through a set of questions. (ILS). iii) Section (3) contained questions that assess Each variable was measured using five-point Likert the socio-cultural factors (independent variables). scales in which (1 is strongly disagree, while 5 is 6 A. ABED ET AL. strongly agree). Dependent and independent variables Research Sample: To generalize the results to the were identified through a review of the literature, the- selected housing case study, the sample of this study ories, and prior research. Table 2 summarizes the represented nearly 50% of the population with a 95% research variables, their operational definitions, and confidence level and 5% confidence interval. Since the corresponding questions. there are three prototypes of housing units, the sample Table 2. Dependent and independent variables. 1- Internal layout (dependent variable) Factor Operational Definition Items ● ● Functional This variable depicts the house’s spaces and the activities that take Guest hosted in the guests’ room. aspects (ILF) place within them, as well as the extent to which these activities Family members gather in the living room. match the functions of the spaces. ● Family members like to cat food in dining spaces. ● Family members sleep in bedrooms. Each member like to have his own bedroom. The balcony is used for outdoor seating. ● Boys in my family have their own bedrooms. ● Girls in my family have their own bedrooms. The home has a service zone (laundry room, storage, etc.) ● User’s satis- It was addressed by the appropriateness of internal layout for its ● Suitability of home-style with occupant lifestyle faction (ILS) occupants in terms of sufficient spaces, security, privacy, space ● Suitability of home spaces with values and beliefs. usage patterns, satisfaction with values and beliefs, and satisfying ● Suitability of home with climatic circumstances. with climatic conditions. ● Preference to have additional spaces in home. ● The level of sound isolation between rooms. ● Satisfaction with: The number and size of rooms. ○ The spatial arrangement of spaces. Entrance and main hall design. Terraces/balconies design and size Arrangement of transitional zones and corridors. 2- Socio-cultural factors (independent variables) Factor Operational Definition Items ● ● Social role This variable was assessed by the frequency of interaction and Participation in neighborhood events. (SR) engagement with social activities. Joining neighborhood associations. Family members’ participation in neighborhood occasions. Participation in solving issues related to the neighborhood. ● ● Social net- This variable was evaluated based on the strength of social Knowing all neighbor’s names. work (SN) relationships with neighbors and social structure. Personal relationships with neighbors. Asking neighbors for a favor. Family kids play with neighborhoods kids ● Hospitality It was assessed by the need for generous reception and entertainment ● Sharing same hospitality values as neighborhood (HO): zone. residents ● Having a special space to host guests. ● liking to host neighbors in the guest room. ● Hosting relatives and close friends in semi-public areas such as the living room. ● This variable was evaluated by identifying the level of segregation ● Gender seg- Sharing the same Gender segregation values as between males and females. More individualism means more regation neighbors segregation. ● (GS): Being conservative and support gender segregation values. Liking to have different guest rooms for males and females. Preference to have separated bedrooms for girls and boys. Preference of female members to have a special rest place Preference of male members to have a special place to rest. ● ● Safety (SF): This variable was assessed by the condition of feeling being protected Family children play safely outside of the home. from any cause of danger or risk for different family members. The boundaries of the neighborhood are safe. No experience with any type of crime. Neighbors tackled anti-social behavior and vandalism action in the neighborhood. ● ● Privacy (PR): This variable was measured by the amount of avoiding visual contact Privacy consideration in home through dividing it into a between different zones. It can also be tested through the openness public zone for guests\ semi-public for living\ private for \ closeness of the floor plan. bedrooms. Each member of the family has his/ her own private spaces. Preference to have special entrances for guests. Privacy consideration in the guest room. Privacy consideration in the living room. Privacy consideration in the kitchen. Privacy consideration in private zones (bedrooms). JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 7 of each prototype were nearly 50% of the whole pro- (3) Assessment for Regression assumptions was totype population, which means that the sample size is checked before the analysis stage to decide 82 units from prototype A, 39 units from prototype B whether the data followed or violated any of (increased then to 50 for validity reasons), and 70 units the regression assumptions. These assumptions from prototype C. So, 202 responses were collected include: from residents of housing units via stratified random a. Sample size: Pallant (2020) stated that the probability sampling. sample size should be larger than 50 + 8 M The research sample included 62% females, and (M = number of independent variables). more than 80% of the respondents were married, and Accordingly, the sample size of this study the family size of 52% of which ranged from three to (n = 202) was acceptable; larger than six members. In addition, most of the respondents (50 + 8*6) = 98. were educated; this can explain why (74%) of the b. Multi-collinearity: the correlation between heads of households and (62%) of their spouses were the independent variables was less than employed in public and private sectors. The majority of 0.474. Thus, none of the variables was respondents owned their housing units and have been excluded from the regression analysis. living in their apartments for more than five years, c. Outlier The study did not include any proble- while only 6% of the participants have been living in matic outlier for the following reasons; 1) large their apartments for less than five years. sample size; 2) only three cases fell outside the Research Hypotheses: standardized residual range, below 1% for the normality distributed sample (Pallant 2020); 3) H1: There is a significant relationship between socio- the maximum value of Cook’s Distance was cultural factors and the functionality of the internal below 1 (0.042); and 4) the residual value, in layout (ILF) a case-wise diagnostic table, is of a small value. Therefore, all cases were maintained (n = 202). H2: There is a significant relationship between socio- d. Normality: According to the histogram and cultural factors and residents’ satisfaction with the scatterplot results, there was no contravention. internal layout (ILS). The histogram presented the data in a normal distribution, and the standard deviation value Each hypothesis included six sub-hypotheses con- was below (0.995). The scatterplot of the stan- sidering each of the socio-cultural factors (i.e., social dardized residuals showed an obvious pattern, role, social network, values, and beliefs that contain where the residuals were distributed roughly, hospitality and gender segregation, safety, and privacy). with the highest of the scores found to be concentrated around zero points. e. Linearity: The results showed that the scatter- 2.1. Measurement scale analysis plot lies uniformly around the regression line, indicating a linear relationship between vari- This section discusses the measurement scale analysis ables and no violation of the linearity steps: assumption in this study. f. Homoscedasticity: since homoscedasticity (1) The reliability analysis was performed for each set and normality assumptions are related, it of variables according to Pallant’s (2020) four has been acknowledged that all constructs levels of the reliability scale: excellent (0.90 and are within a normal cigar shape scatterplot above), high (0.70 to 0.90), moderate (0.50 to 70), distribution range, and there was no violation and low (0.50 and below). The accepted value of of the homoscedasticity assumption in this Cronbach’s alpha is 0.7 and above (Taber 2018). study. Nevertheless, according to Taber (2018), values above 0.6 are also accepted. The findings showed that all items exceeded 0.60, which means that all 3. Results alpha values were reliable. Also, Cronbach’s alpha values ranged from 0.613 for Social Network and The descriptive analysis was conducted to determine 0.860 for Privacy. Finally, the total correlation of the mean value (M) and standard deviation (SD) for all each item exceeded 0.3. Thus, the reliabilities variables. The results indicated that among the six indicated adequate convergence and good inter- independent variables indicating the motivating fac- nal consistency. tors influencing spatial layout transformation, gender (2) Spearman correlation coefficient measures the segregation received the highest mean score (M strength and direction of the linear relationship = 4.12, SD = 0.49), followed by privacy (M = 4.05, between the variables. SD = 0.52), hospitality (M = 3.94, SD = 0.46), social 8 A. ABED ET AL. role (M = 3.91, SD = 0.52), social network (M = 3.77, the variability in participants’ responses to the function- SD = 0.37) and Safety received the lowest mean score ality of the internal layout can be explained by the (M = 3.70, SD = 0.38). In respect to the dependent participants’ desire for gender segregation. In short, variables, residents’ satisfaction scored (M = 3.83, the regression study of the first hypothesis (H1) revealed SD = 0.44), and the functionality of the internal layout that the six socio-cultural factors had a considerable scored (M = 4.17, SD = 0.44). The high mean value of effect on the functionality of internal layouts, with asso- internal layout indicates that units’ spaces suit the ciation percentages ranging from 16.9% to 40.2%. activities performed within them. Correlations coefficient was used to measure the H2: The relationship between socio-cultural factors and strength and direction of the linear relationship residents’ satisfaction with the internal layout: The between the dependent and independent variables. regression analysis results (Table 3) revealed that In general, the correlation findings presented statisti- Social Role (R-square = 0.155, p < 0.01), Social cally positive significant relationships between vari- Network (R-square = 0.289, p < 0.001), Hospitality (R- ables at level (p < 0.01). The highest correlations were square = 0.138, p < 0.01), Gender Segregation (R- between GS and ILF (r = 0.634) and between PR and square = 0.241, p < 0.001), Safety (R-square = 0.204, p ILF (r = 0.629). On the other hand, the results indicated < 0.01), and Privacy (R-square = 0.224, p < 0.001) sig- a high positive correlation between SN and SU nificantly affect the residents’ satisfaction with internal (r = 0.537). layout considerations. In comparison to other factors, Regression analysis was performed to test the social network seems to have a greater impact on the impact of socio-cultural factors on the internal layout residents’ satisfaction, with 28.9% in the variability in of the Zebdeh-Farkouh housing project in Irbid, residents’ satisfaction with internal layout considera- Jordan. This objective was sub-divided into two main tions can be explained by the participants’ desire for hypotheses H1 and H2, with Hypothesis 1 (H1) investi- social network. The regression analysis of the second gated the relationship between socio-cultural factors hypothesis (H2) found that the six socio-cultural factors and the functionality of the internal layout, and had an influence on inhabitants’ satisfaction with inter- Hypothesis 2 (H2) investigated the relationship ior layout, although at a low association rate of 13.8 between socio-cultural factors and residents’ satisfac- percent to 28.9 percent. Both hypotheses H1 and H2 tion with the internal layout. confirmed that socio-cultural factors are positively related to internal layout and resident’s satisfaction. H1: The relationship between socio-cultural factors and the functionality of the internal layout: The regression Additionally, the research examines the disparities analysis results (Table 3) revealed that Social Role (R- in participants’ reactions to the influence of socio-cul- square = 0.169, p < 0.01), Social Network (R- tural factors in three prototype units that reflect the square = 0.253, p < 0.001), Hospitality (R-square = 0.203, housing community. According to the ANOVA results, p < 0.01), Gender Segregation (R-square = 0.402, p there were no significant mean differences between < 0.001), Safety (R-square = 0.198, p < 0.01), and the dependent variables of the three prototypes (Table Privacy (R-square = 0.396, p < 0.001) significantly affect 4). On the other hand, the ANOVA test revealed no the functionality of internal layout. In comparison to significant differences in participants’ evaluations of other factors, gender segregation seems to have a the variables (SR, SN, HO, SF, and PR), with the excep- greater impact on the internal layout, with 40.2% in tion of GS, which revealed significant mean differences Table 3. Regression analysis for the impact of socio-cultural factors. 1. Functional Aspect of Internal Layout Variables Standardized Coefficient β (Beta) R square Sig. Social Role (SR) 0.411 0.169 0.000 Social Network (SN) 0.503 0.253 0.000 Hospitality (HO) 0.451 0.203 0.000 Gender Segregation (GS) 0.634 0.402 0.000 Safety (SF) 0.445 0.198 0.000 Privacy (PR) 0.629 0.396 0.000 2. Users’ Satisfaction of Internal Layout Variables Standardized Coefficient β (Beta) R square Sig. Social Role (SR) 0.394 0.155 0.000 Social Network (SN) 0.537 0.289 0.000 Hospitality (HO) 0.371 0.138 0.000 Gender Segregation (GS) 0.491 0.241 0.000 Safety (SF) 0.452 0.204 0.000 Privacy (PR) 0.473 0.224 0.000 JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 9 Table 4. Result analysis based on units’ prototype. Independent Variables Unit prototype Mean Test of Homogeneity of Variances (Sig.) ANOVA (Sig.) Social Role (SR) A 3.9329 0.619 0.054 B 4.0200 C 3.7929 Total 3.9059 Social Network (SN) A 3.8171 0.630 0.164 B 3.7150 C 3.8429 Total 3.8007 Hospitality (HO) A 3.9726 0.526 0.652 B 3.8950 C 3.9607 Total 3.9493 Gender Segregation (GS) A 4.2317 0.561 0.009 B 4.1267 C 3.9881 Total 4.1213 Safety (SF) A 3.6707 0.270 0.056 B 3.6500 C 3.8071 Total 3.7129 Privacy (PR) A 4.0412 0.325 0.904 B 4.0800 C 4.0429 Total 4.0514 Dependent Variables Unit prototype Mean Test of Homogeneity of Variances (Sig.) ANOVA (Sig.) Functional Aspect (ILF) A 4.1387 0.822 0.749 B 4.1425 C 4.1929 Total 4.1584 User’s Satisfaction (ILS) A 3.8201 0.618 0.247 B 3.8900 C 3.7482 Total 3.8125 across groups. The analysis indicated that occupants of value grows when each of the factors PR, SN, and SF prototypes A and B are, on average, more conservative are added in each model, as shown by the r square and expressed a preference for gender segregation change values in Table 5. The predictive power when altering the units’ spatial layout. Prototypes A improves to 56.5% in the final model. and B has a larger size than prototype C as shown in Table 5 summarizes the stepwise regression model Figure 2. This motivate units’ transformation to achieve for residents’ satisfaction with the internal layout. gender segregation for users (family members and According to the findings, the four most influential guests). socio-cultural factors impacting residents’ satisfaction Finally, stepwise regression analysis was used to are social network (SN), Gender Segregation (GS), determine which driving factors substantially influ - Safety (SF) and Social Role (SR) respectively. The first enced perception to the internal layout. Table 5 pre- model has an r-square of (0.289), the second model has sents the four models that emerged from the stepwise an r-square of (0.379), the third model has an r-square regression analysis and arranged based on their pre- of (0.411), and the final model has an r-square of dictive power for internal layouts and layout transfor- (0.434). All models are statistically significant, and the mations. All the regression models are statistically socio-cultural variables (SN, PR, SF, GS, and SR) significant, with p values less than 0.05 and r-square together account for 43.4 % of the variation in resi- value ranging from 0.402 (model 1) to 0.562 (model 4). dents’ satisfaction with the interior layout. According Moreover, all variables associated with the functional- to statistical study, socio-cultural factor influence both ity of the internal layout (GS, PR, SN, and SF) in each the functionality of internal layout and residents’ satis- model were statistically significant with a p-value is faction, with a greater effect on internal layout func- less than 0.05. The stepwise first model suggests that tionality. Additionally, the findings indicate that one or the four most significant socio-cultural factors affect - a combination of socio-cultural factor might operate as ing the internal layout are -in order of importance- predictors of internal layout transformations changes gender segregation (GS), privacy (PR), social network and residents’ satisfaction. (SN), and safety (SF), respectively. The first model In order to support the findings of statistical stu- revealed that gender segregation accounted for dies the interviews were done. The interviews 40.2% in variations of participants’ perceptions of revealed that demographic variable along with their internal units’ layout functionality. This predictive socio-cultural aspect have a significant influence on 10 A. ABED ET AL. Table 5. Stepwise model summary. Hypothesis 1: Relationship between Socio-Cultural factors and Functional Aspect of Internal Layout Model R R Square Adjusted R Square F Change Sig. F Change 1 0.654 0.427 0.424 149.171 0.000 2 0.731 0.535 0.530 45.900 0.000 3 0.766 0.586 0.580 24.818 0.000 4 0.775 0.600 0.592 6.735 0.010 5 0.781 0.610 0.600 4.748 0.031 a. Predictors: (Constant), GS b. Predictors: (Constant), GS, PR c. Predictors: (Constant), GS, PR, SN d. Predictors: (Constant), GS, PR, SN, HO e. Predictors: (Constant), GS, PR, SN, HO, SF f. Dependent Variable: IL Hypothesis 2: Relationship between Socio-Cultural factors and Users’ Satisfaction of Internal Layout Model R R Square Adjusted R Square F Change Sig. F Change 1 0.540 0.292 0.288 82.291 0.000 2 0.608 0.370 0.363 24.688 0.000 3 0.631 0.399 0.390 9.519 0.002 4 0.649 0.421 0.409 7.611 0.006 5 0.659 0.434 0.420 4.550 0.034 a. Predictors: (Constant), SN b. Predictors: (Constant), SN, PR c. Predictors: (Constant), SN, PR, SF d. Predictors: (Constant), SN, PR, SF, GS e. Predictors: (Constant), SN, PR, SF, GS, SR f. Dependent Variable: SU layout transformation. Demographic variable includes 4. Discussion family structure, income level, and ownership. The The study revealed that the socio-cultural factors play a respondents’ comments concentrated on two main significant role in determining units’ layout transfor- topics, namely privacy and cultural values, as social mation and residents’ satisfaction with their units. and cultural factors influencing the unit layout trans- Moreover, the socio-cultural factors may explain resi- formations. According to the interviews, the demo- dents’ preferences and the reasons that lead them to graphic profile of the respondents who made change their houses’ internal layout. The quantitative transformations in the units’ layout had a large family analysis showed that the four most influential factors size, with around 88% of them has more than five are gender segregation (GS), privacy (PR), social net- members in their families. It was noted that over 60% work (SN), and safety (SF), respectively. This was sup- of the households that underwent transformations ported by interviews that highlight the significance of had a decent income, with both the head of house- privacy and cultural values that are associated with hold and spouse are employed. The fact that they social networks and hospitality. Furthermore, previous were closing balconies, installing additional studies revealed that homes layout transformations might take different forms based on residents’ dissa- entrances, or even enlarging the floor space was tisfaction with the condition of their units which they attributed to their family’s expansion or an improve- refer to as “housing deficits” (Mohit, Ibrahim, and ment in their financial status, according to some of Rashid 2010; Collen and Hoekstra 2001). Furthermore, their remarks. A similar point was made by others, residents tend to change the layouts of their homes who said that property ownership motivates inhabi- over time to balance between the layout they had in tants to do more investments in their homes, which is mind and the existing layout (Mirmoghtadaee 2009; connected to increasing the quality of life and so Aduwo, Ibem, and Akunnaya Opoko 2013). Hence, the contributing to the stability of the family. lack of socio-cultural considerations in designing Similarly, interviewees’ responses emphasized the houses’ internal layout limits residents’ satisfaction substantial influence of privacy, with inhabitants (Makinde 2015). attempting to change the spatial layouts and establish The Housing units’ transformations associated with hierarchical relationships between areas. This was sub- socio-cultural factors yield different architectural stantiated by the majority of transformations instances forms. The present study includes the following as covering balconies and adjustments from the socio-cultural factors: kitchen side. Additionally, cultural values related with social networks and hospitality revealed as key deter- (a) The Social Role (SR): This concept has been minants of house transformations, including the inclu- widely investigated in different fields of sion of private entrances and the expansion of public research (Benamar, Balagué, and Ghassany areas in altered units. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 11 2017). It is defined as an organized pattern of internal design. The four transformation categories can be explained through the interpretation of this behaviour regarding the way residents act as factor. GS is demonstrated in Jordanian society by community members, respond to the surround- the use of separate guest rooms. This has resulted in ing environment, and engage in social activities. adding private entrances, extending the floors area, The questionnaire represented the SR factor and covering the balconies close to the living room to through four items (Table 2), measuring indivi- increase its capacity for hosting female guests so that duals’ social role and participation in social the main guest room could be dedicated for male guests. This was confirmed by interviewed residents events. Even though the mean values of these who assured the importance of having separate items ranged between 3.88 and 3.93 with a total entrance and guestroom since they belonged to con- mean of 3.91, their impact on houses’ internal servative society, where the cultural values sanctify layout turned out to be weak. This could be woman and protect their privacy. attributed to the extreme variation in housing units’ designs, such as the used materials, open- (a) Safety (SF): is another integral requirement of ings’ shapes, and other architectural elements. home design and internal transformations However, the social factor is closely related to (Okunola and Amole 2018; Isah, Khan, and Bn layout transformations conducted to reflect resi- Ahmad 2015). According to the motivational dents’ social status and prestige, like the addi- theory, safety as a general concept occupies tion of a private entrance and the expansion of the second tier of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs public zones. In other words, the high involve- (Maslow 1954). The perception of safety reflects ment of family members in social events and residents’ quality of life in different cultural set- gatherings entails a prestigious social status tings (Jolanki and Vilkko 2015). Four items that requires them to make home transforma- (Table 2) were included in the questionnaire to tions that reflect this status. Also, major trans- assess the SF factor. The analysis showed a posi- formation was associated with stability, where tive relationship between the SF factor and the people who owned the housing units had more internal layout, as the items’ mean values ran- freedom to conduct transformations and then ged from 3.58 to 3.76, with a total mean of 3.70. improving their satisfaction level. A note worth mentioning is that security cam- (b) Social Network (SN): The sense of community eras and alarm systems were not spotted during and belonging was first introduced by Maslow the observations, which can be attributed to the (1954), who placed love and belonging in the Jordanian cultural values which consider watch- third tier of the hierarchy of needs. Similarly, ing out for neighbours’ properties and protect- Sarason, Sarason, and Pierce (1990) proposed ing them from intruders a must. The analysis the sense of community theory consisting of showed that the sense of safety has influenced four items: membership, influence, the fulfil - the housing units’ layout resulting in covering ment of needs, and shared emotional connec- balconies and adding new entrances. tion (Benamar, Balagué, and Ghassany 2017). (b) Privacy (PR): Al-Bishawi, Ghadban, and Jørgensen These four items were included in the question- (2017) stated that privacy is essential to naire to assess the SN factor, namely, the Jordanians as it is an indispensable element of strength of the social ties that connect their cultural values and religious beliefs. neighbours. Moreover, the study revealed that privacy affects not only houses’ layout design and transforma- tions but also several other architectural aspects d) Gender Segregation (GS): This factor could be seen of people’s daily lives, including the way they as an outcome of the main norms of society, such as interact with their surrounding environment. privacy, cultural values, and beliefs. Of all the socio- Privacy is translated into hierarchical physical cultural factors, gender segregation had the highest mean value (4.12), confirming that this factor is highly levels. Furthermore, the use of space and how influential in layout design and transformation, espe- privacy was achieved differ notably among cul- cially in conservative societies (Al-Mohannadi 2019). tures worldwide, resulting in different house Six items (Table 2) were included in the questionnaire forms (Jabareen and Carmon 2010; Xie and Hui to assess the GS factor by identifying the degree of 2015; Rapoport 2016). Additionally, the quantita- segregation between males and females, either tive and the qualitative analysis results empha- between family members or between family members and guests. The analysis showed a positive relation- sized the role of privacy as a significant factor ship between this factor and internal layout, as the influencing homes’ internal layout. The question- items’ mean values ranged from 4.07 to 4.15. The naire assessed privacy through seven items results of stepwise regression analysis also showed (Table 2), including residents’ desire to avoid that gender segregation directly affects the internal visual contact between rooms. The analysis layout. The strength of this factor was clearly observed in the quantitative results and reflected in the units’ showed a positive relationship between the 12 A. ABED ET AL. privacy factor and the internal layout, as the which is mirrored in home design decisions which items’ mean values ranged from 3.91 to 4.12, would enhance individual’s satisfaction with their lives with a total mean of 4.05. The results of the (Jones-Rounds, Evans, and Braubach 2014). stepwise regression analysis also showed that The housing authorities responsible for developing privacy directly affects units’ internal layout and public housing units in Jordan often offer limited residents’ satisfaction. In addition, the field obser- choices of housing unit design which overlook the resi- vations and interviews revealed that residents dents’ diverse social and cultural characteristics (Al- make changes in their home layout to adjust Homoud and Is–haqat 2019). In light of the study find - privacy levels. On the one hand, some residents ings and the design of public housing projects in Jordan, resorted to adding private entrances along with it can be said that the implementation of comprehen- the expansion of the living or guest rooms’ area. sive multi-scale design and planning processes is a long On the other hand, to emphasize the privacy way off. However, it does open genuine possibilities for concept, some residents adjusted their housing policies and small-scale interventions within the early units by adding different types of covers or var- stages of work plans. It is worth noting here that Jordan ious kinds of landscape to minimize the visibility is implementing the 2025 Jordan program vision of the internal spaces, which require additional (Housing and Urban Development Corporation 2020). privacy. In this regard, the study results may provide planners and policymakers working on action plans with recom- Since the transformation of housing units aims to mendations that promote the development of respon- improve adaptability and life quality, there is a serious sive housing layouts. This may take the shape of need to review HUDC’s design policies to be culturally updated design rules, emphasizing the socio-cultural responsive and respectful of residents’ desires by offer - elements and incorporating them in the design process ing them different layout options that ensure units’ to create feasible solutions. So, flexible design guide- appropriateness and suitability to the end-users. In lines and strategies will be a good to balance between addition to providing residents with the opportunity individuals’ differences and general aesthetics of public to participate in planning/designing during the early housing. Otherwise, residents would conduct transfor- design stages. This highlights the need to ensure civic mation activities on their own as informal activities. engagement and community participation in HUDC’s In general, the research findings provide construc- designing process leading to diversifying units’ layouts tive insight into socio-cultural factors explaining inter- in terms of size, function, and spatial arrangement in nal layout design and transformations. However, this alignment with the prominent demographics. study has some limitations as follows: 1) Results of the Moreover, taking the socio-cultural factors into consid- cross-sectional data analysis limit the generalization of eration could lead to more flexible designs and facil- findings to other regions. However, longitudinal sur- itate the inevitable future rearrangement/expansion of veys create better results for long-term planning and internal space. future forecasting. 2) The relatively small sample size (n = 202) was adequate for this study, but also general- izability of findings to the whole region is still a major 5. Conclusion concern. Therefore, the validity of current study find - ings is limited to the selected HUDC case only in the An effective urban and housing policy requires a deeper region of Irbid city in Jordan. 3) It is expected that understanding of the housing parameters, especially in some internal transformations relating to changes in small countries like Jordan, where the population is space functions was not recorded for this study due to expanding at breakneck speed (Alnsour 2016). There is resident’s privacy issues. This can be suggested for a growing interest in understanding the way individuals future research to advance knowledge and provide perceive their house’s design and its impact on their better understanding for layout transformation. lives (Al-Betawi et al. 2021). This research revealed that the transformation of individual housing units is driven by social and cultural factors relevant to the residents. Disclosure statement Moreover, house transformations take various forms, leading to a better layout that suits the residents’ No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s). needs in terms of composition, appearance, and size. Thus, housing should be seen as an ongoing process of Notes on contributors transformation, with the interventions of families Amal Abed, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the College of reflecting their values, ambitions, and requirements. Architecture and Design at Jordan University of Science and The “Human Development Theory” dictates that Technology. She received her B.S. and M.Sc. degree in families need to be empowered to take control over Architecture from Jordan University of Science and various aspects of their lives by allowing them to parti- Technology in 1999 and 2002 respectively. In 2006, she cipate in making decisions (Barreiro and Cecilia 2006), obtained a second M.Arch. in Architecture from Texas A & JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 13 M University. Her Ph.D. work was in the area of Urban Al-Homoud, M., and H. Is–haqat. 2019. “Exploring the Planning and Environmental Policy from Texas Southern Appropriateness of the Royal Initiative for Housing for the University, 2012. Dr. Abed had gained professional experi- low-income Group in Jordan.” IOP Conference Series: ence through Morris Architects, USA. Also, she is LEED AP Materials Science and Engineering, Chulalongkorn (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - University, Malaysia. doi:10.1088/1757-899X/471/7/072001. Accredited Professional) certified from GBCI (Green Building Al-Mohannadi, A. S. M. A. 2019. “The Spatial Culture of Certification Institute), TX. Her research interests are in the Traditional and Contemporary Housing in Qatar. A areas of Sustainable Development; Social Sustainability, Comparative Analysis Based on Space Syntax.” Housing Neighborhood, and Affordable Housing. Alnsour, J. 2016. “Affordability of Low Income Housing in Amman, Jordan.” Jordan Journal of Economic Sciences 3 Bushra Obeidat is an assistant professor at Jordan University (1): 65–79. doi:10.12816/0029857. of Science and Technology. Obeidat holds a Ph.D. in Askarizad, R. 2017. “Influence of Socio-Cultural Factors on the Architecture. She is interested in evidence-based design Formation of Architectural Spaces (Case Study: Historical and the ways in which spatial layouts may promote human Residential Houses in Iran).” Creative City Design 1 (3): 44–54. experience and organizational goals, as well as how Avogo, F. A., E. Akiweley Wedam, and S. Mensah Opoku. designers might create such spaces. Due to her academic 2017. “Housing Transformation and Livelihood Outcomes and professional architecture experience, she is well-versed in Accra, Ghana.” Cities 68: 92–103. doi:10.1016/j. in analytical and empirical methods for comprehending cities.2017.05.009. space and its occupants. Barreiro, C., and I. Cecilia. 2006. Human Development Islam Gharaibeh, received her BSc and MSc degree in Assessment through the human-scale Development Architectural engineering from Jordan University of Science Approach: Integrating Different Perspectives in the and Technology in 2017 and 2021 respectively. Her MSc Contribution to a Sustainable Human Development Theory. thesis was in the area of public housing internal layout Spain: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. http://hdl.han transformations. Gharaibeh had worked as a freelance archi- dle.net/10803/5924 tect in Jordan and Saudi Arabia skilled in architectural design. Benamar, L., C. Balagué, and M. Ghassany. 2017. “The She had also worked in the academical field of architecture Identification and Influence of Social Roles in a Social as a teaching assistant and a part-time lecturer in different Media Product Community.” Journal of Computer-Mediated universities in Jordan. Her research interests are in the areas Communication 22 (6): 337–362. doi:10.1111/jcc4.12195. of Residential Architecture; Housing Design, Social Housing, Chavis, D. M., J. H. Hogge, D. W. McMillan, and A. and Internal Spatial Analysis. 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Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering – Taylor & Francis
Published: May 4, 2023
Keywords: socio-cultural factors; spatial configuration; layout transformation; public housing; satisfaction
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