Designing a Modern and Livable House

Urban House Designing – Choosing Place To live



  1. Analyze the impact of housing needs, wants, and values when choosing a place to live.
  2. Identify human and material resources that influence housing decisions.
  3. Contrast different types of community environments.
  4. Analyze the factors that should be considered when selecting a neighborhood
  5. Evaluate the importance of public services in choosing a place to live.
  6. Summarize and compare multifamily and single-family housing options.


Imagine that your family has decided to move. How do you begin to find a home how can your family be sure to find a place that would suit every member's needs and wants?


Every family is unique, and so are its housing needs. One family may prefer to live in the country, another in the suburbs. Families with children may want safe streets and adequate recreational facilities. A young married couple may look for nearby sports and cultural activities. An older person may be interested in being close to transportation.


The first step in choosing a place to live is to evaluate the household's needs, Wants' values, and resources. Such factors as location, community services, the neighborhood and its schools, and the types of housing available must all be considered.



MANY FACTORS enter into the housing decision. The specific needs of a household or an individual may determine the location or size of housing. What is wanted in terms of appearance or special features may influence housing choices. Also, people take into consideration their resources when they choose a place to live.



Probably the most important factor in making a housing decision is need. A roof over your head is the most important, but there are other needs too. As explained in previous Article housing fulfills a variety of basic human needs.


While all people have the same basic needs, their specific needs and priorities differ. A family of seven people needs more bedrooms than a single person. A person on a fixed income needs predictable housing costs within his or her budget. A family with small children needs to live in or near a community that offers adequate schooling. A person without a car needs to live near public transportation. People choose housing that satisfies their basic needs at the time.


When people's life situations change over the years, their housing often changes too. Housing that may have suited a couple when they were starting a family may no longer be suitable when they retire.



Whenever possible, people make choices that fulfill their wants. Wanting something is not the same as needing it. People may want their shelter to provide a swimming pool or a recreation room, but they usually don't need it.

Most people also make housing decisions based on what they believe to be important in life, or their values. For example, if a person values simplicity and moderation in life, a small, modest, older home might be chosen instead of a larger, new home with numerous amenities. If people value sports and fitness, housing close to recreational facilities will be important. The values people hold about conserving natural resources may influence the type of heating or cooling systems chosen. Values affect what people want in life.



Human resources are personal qualities that people possess, including creativity, imagination, knowledge, skills, talent, time, energy, and experience. Knowledge and skills can be especially useful when making housing decisions. For example, a person with knowledge and skills in carpentry might use these resources in updating or remodeling a home.

Material resources are tangible assets, such as money, property, supplies, and tools—assets that people may or may not possess themselves. Perhaps the most essential material resource is money, which plays an important role in the choices people make about housing. Whether an individual or family decides to rent or buy, the choices will be limited by the amount ofmoney available to spend. The challenge comes in using money wisely to best meet the housing needs of individuals and families.

Material resources other than money can come from communities and other sources. For example, in order to maintain environmental attractiveness, some communities may give away (or sell inexpensively) trees or shrubs to landscape yards. Community businesses, such as lumber yards, home improvement centers, and paint and wallpaper stores, usually offer free advice and demonstrations on how to care for and maintain the place in which you live. Some may give away product samples to try before you make large purchases.

Before making a decision on where to live and what type of home to live in, individuals and families need to carefully evaluate all of their resources. By having a strong understanding of all available resources, families and individuals can make sound housing decisions.


Choosing a location

  1.  Housing tends to be more expensive of the East and West Coasts than in the interior of the country.
  2. Housing within and near major cities tends to be more expensive than in smaller cities and towns.
  3. Within cities, housing costs are generally higher in downtown areas and sections under development.
  4. Single-family homes in suburbs often cost more than those in cities.
  5. Housing costs in rural areas tend to be the lowest of all.


While these general trends are true Variations can occur in any specific location city may have an older neighborhood: with single-family homes that cost more than homes downtown. One suburb may have houses that cost less than those in a nearby resort area in the country.



In general, the types of locations in which people live can be broadly described as urban, suburban, and rural. Although they are general characteristics for each type of area, it is important to remember that there are variations within each of the three categories. For example, Chicago, Illinois and Fargo, North Dakota are both cities, or urban areas, but the lifestyle in each is quite different. Both cities offer entertainment and cultural opportunities, but a city like Chicago is busier, noisier, and has more people per square mile. The convenience of living close to work, shopping, and cultural opportunities appeals to most people who live in cities.

Other people choose the slower-paced life available in rural areas. Rural, or country living, offers wide open spaces, less industry (and therefore less pollution), and fewer people. A small town out in the country and a farm far from any other populated area can both be considered rural living. For families that enjoy the outdoors and more privacy, rural living is an attractive choice.

For some people, living in a suburb a residential area adjacent to a city—provides the best of both city and country living. Suburban living generally offers more open space than city living, while offering some of the same work, transportation, and entertainment opportunities. In the examples at the right, several homeowners and renters describe the choices they made about location.



Once the general location has been selected, those who choose city, suburban, and small town living will need to choose a neighborhood. A neighborhood is an area which consists of housing units of similar design and price range. Some neighborhoods are made up only of homes, while others include housing, supermarkets, and small shops. For example, Robert Langdon resides in a large town house complex about a ten minute ride from shopping, while Larry Patel lives with her family above the deli they operate in their neighborhood.


House owner 1 "As a lawyer in the city attorney's office, my daily schedule is full and hectic. When I was living in the suburbs, I found myself spending too much time traveling to and from work. I decided to take a chance and move from my suburban apartment to one downtown within walking distance of my office. Although my rent is a little more in the city, I've made up the difference by not having to commute. I've also found that I am enjoying the city more—the Shopping, concerts, and restaurants, and the interesting mix of people I've met."


House owner 2 :Because of our work situations, we knew that a rural location was not for us. Instead, we chose to move to one of the suburbs near the city. We haven't regretted the move for a minute. Although we had to pay more for our home, the real estate taxes are less than those in the city, which has kept our monthly loan payments within our budget. There are plenty of recreational opportunities for our children, good schools, and life is a little more peaceful here."


Hose owner 3 "Shortly after my husband retired three years ago, we decided to do what we've always wanted—move to the country. I wanted a little garden, and Vernon wanted enough space for a small carpentry shop. We found the perfect place to rent—a hobby farm with just enough land for my garden and a small barn for Vernon's carpentry. The pace is nice and slow here, but life can be more challenging at times—like digging out after a heavy snowfall this winter. We sometimes miss the social and cultural opportunities of the city. However, we know it was still the right decision for us. I am raising all the fruits and vegetables we eat, and Vernon is doing what he loves best. We've even made several new friends over breakfast at the local coffee shop."

Knowing as much as possible about your future neighborhood is just as important as selecting the right dwelling. When choosing a neighborhood, consider the convenience, condition of the neighborhood, neighbors, and drawbacks.



Most people do not want to spend a lot of time traveling to and from their daily activities. Finding a home close to their place of employment, public transportation, or food stores is very important to them.

Parents with school-age children might want to live close to schools, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities. Some families choose a home that is convenient to child-care services.

Many residents of cities do not own cars and rely heavily on public transportation. Living near bus and train stops is an essential factor for these people. Suburban housing that is located near major highways might be significant for people who drive into a city to work.




The condition of a neighborhood affects the value of the housing in it. Before moving to a new neighborhood, take a walk around the area. Are the roads and the sidewalks in good repair? Is there adequate street lighting? Is there enough parking? All of these factors can tell much about the condition of a neighborhood and assist you in making a better decision about where to live.

Also try to determine the pattern of growth in the area. Are there signs that residents are painting their homes, landscaping their yards, or renovating town houses or apartments? Is there much new building of single-family or multifamily homes going on? Such questions can help people determine whether the quality of the neighborhood is likely to improve, worsen, or stay the same. Many city planning offices can assist you in finding answers to these questions.

All of these factors are of special concern to people who are buying a home. The value of a home increases or decreases with the value of other homes in the area and with the amount of community involvement shown by residents of the neighborhood.



When neighbors share interests and can rely on each other in an emergency, the entire community benefits. It may be a good idea to learn about the people living in a neighborhood before making a final decision about moving there. Are the neighbors friendly? Do people seem to know and help each other?



No location is perfect. All neighborhoods have problems. In order to deal with the problems, it is best to know about them before moving in, if possible. Check the amount of noise and air pollution in the area. Is one street less noisy than another? What plans are there to deal with vacant buildings, which could lead to vandalism or other problems? You might also ask the, local police about the crime rate in an area and whether a community watch program exists. Drive around, ask questions, and be aware of the activity in a community before making a decision.



IMAGINE WHAT YOU would do if the trash was not collected from your neighborhood. If your home were to catch fire, would you be able to save it by yourself? Like most people, you depend on the community to provide you with certain services. Services vary from community to community. Therefore, it's important to check out the availability and quality of these services before choosing a place to live.



People often take for granted that any housing they choose will have lights, and that the street they live on will be paved. They expect utilities and services to exist where they live. Utilities are the electric power, gas, water, and telephone services people use. Public or community services generally include trash collection, street repair, and sewer systems. Prospective residents should investigate the services that are available in the neighborhood they are interested in. They should also find out how much these services will cost. These items can, in some cases, add a significant amount to housing expenses.

The maintenance of streets and sidewalks is also an important public service. Streets and sidewalks should be well lighted and kept in good repair. In areas with snowy winters, snow removal from streets is necessary to make traveling easier and to allow emergency vehicles to get through. Finding out which of these services are provided by property taxes and which services residents are expected to pay for is essential before choosing a location.


PUBLIC SAFETY A community should have well-trained and well-staffed fire and police departments. Sometimes two or smaller communities share fire and police departments. Rural areas often depend on a volunteer fire department and county sheriff for protection. The number of staff and distance from your home are factors that can affect response to emergencies. Another consideration is the location of the nearest hospital and ambulance service.

There are several things to look for when evaluating a particular school. Are classes overcrowded? What is the ratio of students to teachers? What is the drop-out rate at the high school? What does the school spend per student on instruction? Is there an active parent group associated with the school? What plans for improving the school are in place? The answers to these questions and more can indicate the quality of education in a community.

Transportation to school is also a concern. Are schools within walking distance? If not, is there adequate busing to and from school?



An ideal neighborhood includes space and facilities for recreational activities. These might include soccer and baseball playing fields, basketball courts, parks, and open areas. When deciding on a community, it might be of value to find out if it has a public park or playground. You might check to see if there is a community swimming pool nearby, a well-stocked public library, museums, movie theaters, or concert halls.Some of these facilities are provided by residents' tax dollars; others will be Paid for by individuals as they are used. A good neighborhood has a mix of both kinds of recreational opportunities.



Tax policies indirectly influence the quality of life in a community. Some communities have much higher taxes than others. These taxes generally pay for better public services and for maintaining neighborhood schools and recreational facilities.



ANOTHER FACTOR IN the housing decision process is actually choosing the type of housing to live in. There are a variety of housing options available, ranging from single-family homes to multifamily housing. To some people, maintaining one's privacy is the most important consideration when looking for a place to live. Freedom from maintenance is another reason why people choose one kind of housing over another.



Multifamily dwellings are designed to be used by more than one household. Each household within the dwelling has a private living unit. The units may be attached side by-side, one above the other, or both. Multifamily units make the most economical use of land, frequently offer lower housing costs than single-family housing, and come in a variety of styles. This kind of housing is popular with many people.



The apartment building is the most common form of multifamily unit. Apartments vary greatly. They range from a separate living unit within a house to several large rooms in a high-rise complex.

A high-rise apartment is one of hundreds of separate living units in a multistory building generally equipped with elevators. This modern form of housing is most often found in cities. High-rise apartment buildings may or may not provide extras such as off-street or covered parking, recreational facilities, resident managers, and other services.


A garden apartment is a unit in a low-rise building that includes landscaped grounds. These apartment buildings are often clustered around a patio with a fountain or a swimming pool, or an open lawn area sometimes called a commons. Garden apartment buildings, more open than traditional low-rise buildings, often have balconies and outside stairs leading to individual units.

An efficiency apartment is a unit with one main room, a small kitchen area, and a bathroom. The main room functions as a living, dining, and sleeping area. An efficiency apartment is also known as a studio apartment this is usually the least expensive apartment option, in a given location.

Some Apartment complexes are built especially for senior citizens or other people with special needs. These complexes may offer assisted living services , Such as medical facilities, housekeeping, a central dining hall, transportation, and special safety features.


While some apartments can be very costly, for many people apartments are the most affordable form of housing. Another advantage is that apartment dwellers usually do not have to take care of outdoor maintenance. On the other hand, apartments offer less privacy than other dwellings.



A town house consists of several houses attached together at the side walls. Town houses generally have identical floor plans and are two or more stories high. Each unit has its own separate entrance from the street, and some have a private backyard or patio. Town houses offer more privacy than apartment units. In addition, town houses require less maintenance than single-family homes since they have only two or three small exterior sides and tend to have smaller yards.


Older town houses located in cities are sometimes called row houses. Row houses usually have no recreational facilities, and parking may be limited. In suburban areas, some town house complexes provide a swimming pool, tennis courts, or other facilities. These extras tend to increase the cost of renting or buying a unit in the complex.



A duplex is one building that contains two separate living units. The units may be attached side by side, with one or two stories per unit, or there may be one unit on the first floor and one on the second floor. Each unit has its own outside entrance.

While a duplex is less private than a single-family home, it may offer some of the same advantages, such as yard space and a quiet residential location. A duplex does not offer the recreational facilities that larger multifamily complexes sometimes do, but it is also less impersonal.



The increasing popularity of multifamily housing has led to the development of new forms. One option is a triplex—housing that is attached at the side walls to two other units. Another is a fourplex— housing that is attached at the side walls to three other units. These living units generally have two levels and a garage. Unlike town houses, triplexes and fourplexes are not arranged in a straight row. Instead, the structures are designed in unique shapes. Each entrance often faces a different direction, giving the residents a measure of privacy and the illusion of living in a free standing unit. The future will probably bring other innovative designs for multifamily housing.

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