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Inclusive Built Environments

Consumption and Conservation Behaviors of Affordable Housing Residents

Rising utility costs disproportionately affect affordable housing residents, a demographic often overlooked in conservation strategies. We delved deep into consumption and conservation behaviors, satisfaction with building services, energy burdens, and conservation motivators among these residents in Southern California. Data was gathered through a questionnaire distributed across four affordable housing facilities. 

Our analysis showed that these households have a pronounced inclination towards energy and water conservation, driven by financial and environmental consciousness. Notably, factors such as education level, the ability to pay bills, and adequate Photovoltaic (PV) solar panel supply played pivotal roles in shaping residents' energy practices and their attitudes towards energy-efficient technologies. Despite economic challenges, there is a pronounced interest in energy efficiency and advanced home technologies among these households, especially when equipped with proper resources and knowledge. This highlights the importance of educational efforts and the active participation of stakeholders, particularly developers, in promoting energy-efficient practices and enhancing living standards. The findings are instrumental for multiple stakeholders, including designers, developers, and policymakers in the affordable housing sector. 

Status: Ongoing

Equity in the Built Environment

Our rapidly changing world sees exacerbated inequities due to various crises, underscoring the need to rethink built environmental practices. Our aim was to identify key inequities by exploring various built environments, vulnerable groups, and their needs. 

Our geographical findings underscored the essentiality of focusing on regions with elevated social vulnerability indices. Notably, transportation facilities, residential buildings, and public open spaces received more research attention, with less focus being found on sectors like water, energy, and healthcare facilities. From a needs perspective, aspects like well-being and mobility dominated, while shelter and safety lagged. Minority groups, individuals with health concerns, and specific age brackets were better represented than others, such as those with gender or orientation vulnerabilities and displaced individuals. Specific needs like those of refugees, the homeless, individuals with impairments, and women in varied built environments require deeper investigation in future studies. Embracing diverse design considerations and amplifying human-centric guidelines can advance equity in the built environment. 

Status: Ongoing

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