City oder Suburb - Wohnoptionen für Familien im gesellschaftlichen Wandel : untersucht in Düsseldorf-Innenstadt und Neuss-Allerheiligen

  • City or suburb - options in settlement structure for families in time of change : researched in Düsseldorf and Neuss-Allerheiligen

Tintemann, Inken; Selle, Klaus (Thesis advisor); Kramer, Caroline (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : Publikationsserver der RWTH Aachen University (2015)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

In: PT_Materialien 35

Aachen, Techn. Hochsch., Diss., 2015


Social and economic changes provoke changes in housing needs, aspirations and options. Families with children, who constitute the germ cells at the nucleus of society, are owed particular attention in this respect. Because parents are bound by their caring duties during the children's minority, they are subject to a number of restraints and exigencies as regards their choice of living environment. These kinds of households, therefore, have many special characteristics and needs which may be strongly affected by changes in their local environment which in turn affect their everyday life. In Germany, the shift from Fordism, with its prescribed role models, family structure and living patterns, into Late Modern Society, in which these patterns are seen to have evolved and changed, has been seen to have impacted on families' housing options. Suburban lifestyle has been regarded as the dominant pattern for decades; now urban environments are being discussed as suitable options for families as they are seen to provide more timely opportunities for enmeshing child rearing and career. Although in fact there is a certain awareness of families in inner city areas, official statistics continue to indicate that families are still moving to the outskirts. The thesis postulated for this study implies that the mobility of families is not in fact dictated by dominant pattern but rather by their individual lifestyle choices, as well as their typical needs and the quality of the settlement structures (open to them). Part A of the thesis defines "family" more precisely and explains the different dimensions of family life (parameters?) including individual needs of the individual members, effects of social change, and typical strategies for dealing with constraints. They can be separated into qualitative, (e.g. traffic abatement) quantitative, (e.g. number of rooms), and time management aspects, (e.g. saving time thanks to structures for improving flexibility, for externalizing and rationalizing). The results lead to a kind of catalogue of requirements. This catalogue serves for a matrix that allows comparison between different types of settlement structure and examination of their fitness for families. Part B presents the explorative section of the research. Duesseldorf and Neuss-Allerheiligen were chosen as examples of urban and suburban structures. In both places, families were selected for interviews from Late Modern Society - social types with both parents working. They were asked about their motivation in choosing the areas they lived in at present, about their housing situation and about their daily routines and on-site time management. Their answers have been described, systematized in theme complexes and analysed. Part C contains the conclusions of the research. One significant result is the evident increase of options, because urban as well as suburban settlement structures evidently provide opportunities for good living conditions. Families are interpreting spaces in new ways, modifying their functions and making them fit. Thus the importance of pattern is giving way to the superimposition of individual lifestyles. An ex-ample of the strengths of the suburban choice is the "home advantage" As many of the parents in the study grew up in suburban settings themselves, they are able to draw on a good supporting network, (friends, grandparents and their neighbors). Some even venture into establishing "multi-generational" households in a developing area. A strength of the urban ambiance is a certain "flatrate-city-character," which allows parents the flexibility to open larger windows of time in their daily schedules allowing for more opportunities for their multiple activities. Furthermore, cities offer specialized locations for like-minded persons to share, where everyday life can be extended into public space and social networks developed in this way. The results of this research conclude with recommendations for action in the field of town planning, because one of the most important challenges for those responsible for communal planning is to provide attractive and suitable living spaces - especially for families.