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Understanding traditional comfort practices: case-study of a low-income community in Ahmedabad, India

Sharmin, Tania 2020. Understanding traditional comfort practices: case-study of a low-income community in Ahmedabad, India. Presented at: 35th PLEA Conference Sustainable Architecture and Urban Design: Planning Post Carbon Cities, A Coruña, Spain, 1-3 September 2020.

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An indoor thermal comfort study was carried out in a low-income community during the hot summer in 3 different categories of houses: Type-1: New_builds, Type-2: DMU_new_builds and Type-3: Old_houses. The performance of Type-2 houses (architecturally designed with passive strategies) were significantly better than Type-1 and Type-3 houses with the former being 1.00C cooler on average than the later. All respondents of the study expressed little concern for indoor thermal comfort as they are accustomed to sleep outdoors, either in the courtyard, roof, or balcony as a cultural practice. During daytime, they spend most of the time in outdoor shaded conditions. This is a unique example of how people can adapt through behaviour that makes us rethink the impact of immediate outdoor conditions rather than focusing solely on indoor conditions in a low-income residential context. However, the residents still use indoor spaces for cooking, eating and other social and household practices and for sleeping during the other seasons. It means there is a balance to be made. However, the attempts to incorporate courtyard in the design by the architect for improved social and environmental performance were mostly unsuccessful due to opposition from the residents. This identifies a challenge for local designers to design low-income houses in a high-density context while providing for the socio-cultural and environmental needs of the residents.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: In Press
Schools: Architecture
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 October 2020
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2020 13:00

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