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Title: A critical study of housing and sustainability : a Japanese exemplar
Author: Sato, Fumiaki
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis investigates the relationship between housing and sustainability within a critical framework. It seeks to identify a possible new direction for Japanese house design, derived from an revised version of Patrick Geddes' theory and prioritising the reintroduction of a sense of continuity and gradual evolution. The argument starts from the presupposition that the issues surrounding architectural practice are intimately linked to global environmental concerns. Successful architecture depends on the interrelation of two factors, art (aesthetic criteria) and science (environmental awareness). In order to establish an approach towards sustainable development in housing the relationship between the two will be explored. One approach towards developing a new sustainable architecture will be derived from the idea of reintroducing a greater degree of continuity. Contemporary society broke with traditional society when mythology (narrative knowledge) was replaced by reason (scientific knowledge) as society's organising principle. The distortion and unsustainability of the post-Enlightenment project led to the immobilisation of traditional narrative knowledge, particularly with regards to what it has to offer in relation to enhancing the quality of life, outside the domain of empirically-quantifiable material criteria. Geddes' vision is based on the accumulation of individual syntheses, which help to generate the equilibrium between human and ecological activities at regional level, seen as the ultimate goal. This vision is set out in his diagram, "the Notation of Life", in which he proposed four stages of development - "Acts", "Facts", "Dreams" and "Deeds". Through the "Notation of Life" regional factors and the collective consciousness of citizens are brought together to work towards the establishment of new settlements. The investigation into sustainability in Japan will follow these four stages of the Notation of Life. It compares two administrative regions of Japan, Tokyo and Hokkaido, whose social and environmental conditions are both very different. It will look at their respective situations in relation to the policy of scrap and build and to the use of imported wood and will attempt to assess how any differences can be related to different regional characteristics and lifestyles. In the conclusion, the two case studies will be brought together in order to develop a model for generating consensus between different groups of people in the house design process. The conflict between economics and ecology (both forms of scientific knowledge) will be resolved through the intervention of narrative knowledge. The alternative model for the design process will be characterised by the drawing together of art and science, representing a return to traditional notions of architecture. As a fusion of art and technology, the new architecture will have a part to play in building a new social consensus, crucial in order to re-establish a sense of continuity between personal experience and global environmental issues.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available