How to design housing for urban families?

In 2017, under the Re-thinking Urban Housing programme in Helsinki, INARO carried out a study on the housing needs of urban families with children. On the basis of the study, an apartment building was designed and built in Sompasaari, taking into account the needs of families with children. Now, through a questionnaire and interviews, INARO together with Aalto University researcher Johanna Lilius have carried out a follow-up study on how well the needs were met.

The majority of the feedback was positive, and the residents were happy with their homes. The design solutions chosen to meet the needs identified in the initial study – such as multi-purpose alcoves, fair-sized balconies and storages in connection with the apartments – were well received by the residents. Residents praised that the needs of families with children had been taken into account in the design. The neutral dimensioning of the living rooms and storage space could have been more successful, but compromises had to be made within the framework of the plot shape and structural solutions. In addition, the study found that some things divide opinions and people have different preferences and needs. This supports the notion that one type of housing cannot meet the needs of everyone and that flexibility and adaptability are important qualities in apartments.

The report (in Finnish) can be downloaded here.