Research Output

Transforming challenges into opportunities in social housing: a case study from Italy

  Social housing often aims to provide sheltering for people on low incomes or with particular needs. This results in a constraints-dominated context where environmental and social sustainability find little room. Neglecting environmental and social issues, however, risks to further impact those already at the margins of our society, and for whom the social housing was meant to be a life upgrade. Yet, challenges can be transformed into opportunities if intelligent and collaborative planning is utilised. Such a holistic approach has characterised the project discussed in this paper, which has met the design aims whilst placing environmental and social sustainability at its core. Passive strategies have minimised the energy consumption whilst maximising the opportunities that the surrounding natural environment had to offer. Social needs have also been included throughout the various design phases. The result is a plan for a neighbourhood where utterly different users are brought together under the same roof, and social interactions are not just possible but in fact encouraged. Local trade is embedded in the social spaces to incorporate principles of economic sustainability. This case study can be adopted in and adapted to different contexts thus handing back to architectural design the honour and the moral responsibility to produce spaces in which humans as well as nature can thrive.

  • Date:

    05 July 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Pomponi, L., Sablone, E., Rusconi Clerici, L., Consalez, L., & Pomponi, F. (2017). Transforming challenges into opportunities in social housing: a case study from Italy. In L. Brotas, S. Roaf, & F. Nicol (Eds.), PLEA Conference Proceedings Volume III



Social housing, low energy architecture, passive architecture, social sustainability, local communities,

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