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A trans-disciplinary approach for a comprehensive understanding of sustainable affordable housing

Salama, Ashraf M and Alshuwaikhat, Habib (2006) A trans-disciplinary approach for a comprehensive understanding of sustainable affordable housing. Global Built Environment Review, 5 (3). pp. 35-50. ISSN 1474-6824

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Sustainable affordable housing is traditionally looked at as a way of satisfying certain indicators linked with performance criteria; be it environmental, economic, cultural or social. Current efforts are usually based on addressing multiple criteria in isolation and tend to overlook the process of achieving sustainability, hence affecting the success of a housing policy or a sustainable affordable housing project. This paper calls for a fresh look at an integrated approach necessary to capitalize on current efforts for creating sustainable built environments. By conducting literature reviews, the paper discusses the complexity of sustainable affordable housing s while critically analyzing different characteristics found in the bottom-up and top-down approaches adopted by the professional community to achieve sustainability. Based on the shortcomings found in these approaches, the paper introduces the trans-disciplinary paradigm that is based on transgressing the boundaries of different disciplines, which is essential to the creation of sustainable affordable housing environments. The inductive and conceptual analyses of the issues involved in sustainable affordable housing stimulated the development of a responsive approach, which is devised based on integrating multiple sets of issues while envisioning the way in which such an approach can be implemented in the planning and design process of a sustainable affordable housing project.