Publication Date

2004

Abstract

Natural building is a tangible solution to housing problems throughout the world. The utilization of resources found directly in the immediate environment is an accessible, cost effective means of providing basic housing needs for communities. Providing examples of alternative forms of housing facilitates understanding and changes perception of housing possibilities. The following research compares the receptivity of communities to alternative forms of housing based on the presence/absence of sustainable structures. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to compare the receptivity of alternative forms of housing between a rural area (Tlholego) and an urban area (Boitekong). In Tlholego, community members were highly receptive to natural building. Eighty nine percent claimed that cost-effectiveness, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal of earth homes constitute high quality housing. In Boitekong, seventy three percent claimed that susceptibility to rain damage and cracking walls constitute earth homes as low quality housing. The majority of those who had direct exposure to earth structures accepted the legitimacy of naturally built environments. The majority of those who did not have direct exposure dismissed natural building as a low quality, primitive way of living. It is possible to change perception and create new understandings of housing possibilities. Living models make a difference.

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