Evaluation of the quality of life. Case studies of modernist housing estates in Baluty, Lodz

Misiak, Jakub and Hanzl, Malgorzata; (2022) Evaluation of the quality of life. Case studies of modernist housing estates in Baluty, Lodz. In: Annual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form. University of Strathclyde Publishing, Glasgow, pp. 755-767. ISBN 9781914241161

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While the theory of quality of life is primarily grounded in sociology and public health, urban form studies might contribute a vital ingredient. The condition and transformations of urban fabrics affect the well-being of local citizens. Spatial planning offers the potential to define norms that directly affect the cumulative nature of the development. Specifically, a noticeable shortage of research on Modernist housing estates makes decision-making challenging. Any neglect may lead to an irretrievable drop in living standards. Therefore, the ultimate goal of this study is to define the methods that can be applied to improve assessments of quality of life and liveability in Modernist structures. Carrying out a morphometric analysis enables us to characterise urban form quantitatively. We apply a GIS-based multi-criteria analysis to spatial structures and patterns. The quantitative and qualitative spatial analyses are employed to recognise endogenous and exogenous features of urban form affecting the quality of life. First, we identify the essential elements of urban form to be evaluated, i.e. street, plot or building. Furthermore, we look at their unique constituents and the hierarchies to which they contribute. The physical characteristics of the indicated elements include their dimension, shape, volume, exposure and function. We combine planning indexes (FAR, BCR, GAR) following the SpaceMatrix method. We apply the defined methods to comparatively evaluate modernist housing estates in the Bałuty district of Lodz, Poland. The need for such studies is urgent, as almost half of the city's residents live in blocks of flats. An examination of case studies enables us to reassess the methodology. From the point of view of planning practice, we recommend additional indexes to improve liveability.

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