Housing transformations and their impacts on the well-being of dwellers

Transformações habitacionais e seus impactos no bem-estar dos residentes

Elisa Atália Daniel Muianga Doris Catharine Cornelie KnatzKowaltowski Vanessa Gomes da Silva Ariovaldo Denis Granja Daniel de Carvalho Moreira Regina Coeli Ruschel About the authors

Abstract

Housing transformations have been studied over time. Numerous Post-Occupancy-Evaluation (POE) studies reveal user-initiated alterations occurring in Brazilian Social Housing (SH). These transformations have specific objectives, such as additional space, refurbishment, and improvement, or upgrading. However, results of transformations are not always positive, and may affect dwellers’ well-being through losses in environmental comfort. A critical investigation using the Systematic Literature Review (SLR) method analysed forty-seven studies to understand what needs and requirements stimulate SH projects' upgrading and how transformations impact well-being. In addition, an in-depth analysis was made to assess aspects of environmental comfort, safety, design, layout and economic aspects that affect people’s well-being, and improve their quality of life. Results contribute to supporting upgrading processes of existing SH and to guide the improved design of new SH projects based on the desires and well-being requirements of low-income families.

Keywords:
Transformation; Social Housing; Dwellers’ well-being

Resumo

As transformações de habitações têm sido estudadas ao longo dos anos. Muitos estudos sobre Avaliações Pós-Ocupação (APOs) evidenciam a ocorrência de alterações iniciadas pelos usuários em Habitações de Interesse Social (HIS) no Brasil. Estas transformações têm objetivos específicos, tais como: adição de espaço, remodelação e melhoria, ou upgrading. Entretanto, as condições resultantes dessas transformações nem sempre são positivas, e podem afetar o bem-estar dos usuários por meio de perdas no conforto ambiental. Um estudo crítico desenvolvido a partir de uma Revisão Sistemática de Literatura (RSL) analisou quarenta e sete pesquisas para entender quais necessidades e requisitos estimulam melhorias em HIS, e como as transformações impactam o bem-estar. Além disso, a análise foi aprofundada para se avaliar aspectos de conforto ambiental, segurança, projeto, layout e aspectos econômicos que afetam o bem-estar das pessoas, e melhoram sua qualidade de vida. Os resultados contribuem para apoiar os processos de upgrading de HIS existentes, e pode orientar o aprimoramento o design de novos projetos de HIS com base nas necessidades de bem-estar e requisitos das famílias de baixa renda.

Palavras-chave:
Transformação; Habitação de Interesse Social; Bem-estar de usuários

Introduction

The transformation of houses is an age-old human activity, and the literature on the topic is extensive. Over the last fifty years, research has shown an interest in the changes introduced to houses, as self-initiated actions or as official refurbishment programmes of Social Housing (SH). Concepts associated with the transformation phenomenon are flexibility, adaptability, metamorphosis, evolution, and resilience (GARREFA et al., 2021GARREFA, F. et al. Resilience in social housing developments through post-occupancy evaluation and co-production. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 21, n. 2, p. 151-175, abr./jun. 2021.).

Housing studies in countries such as India and South Africa documented transformations in the 1980s. In the 1990s, several user-initiated housing transformations in Egypt, Bangladesh, and Brazil were recorded (REIS, 1995REIS, A. T. Avaliação de alterações realizadas pelo usuário no projeto original da habitação popular. In : ENCONTRO NACIONAL DE TECNOLOGIA DO AMBIENTE CONSTRUÍDO, 3., Gramado, 1995. Anais [...] Gramado, 1995.; KOWALTOWSKI; PINA, 1995KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K.; PINA, S. A. M. G. Transformações de Casas Populares: uma avaliação. In: ENCONTRO NACIONAL, 3.; ENCONTRO LATINO-AMERICANO DE CONFORTO NO AMBIENTE CONSTRUÍDO, 1., Gramado, 1995. Anais [...] Gramado, 1995.; TIPPLE; AMEEN, 1999TIPPLE, G.; AMEEN, S. User initiated extension activity in Bangladesh: “building slums” or area improvement? Environment and Urbanization, v. 11, n. 1, p. 367-376, 1999. ; TIPPLE, 2000TIPPLE, G. Extending themselves: user-initiated transformations of government built housing in developing countries. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press, 2000.). These studies discuss a variety of issues to improve living conditions by altering existing buildings, especially for SH. In general, such studies investigate the types of transformations made and their reasons. In this context, various terms - e.g., refurbishment, retrofit, renovation, improvements and upgrading - are used to describe such transformations. Herein, the terms ‘upgrading’ and ‘transformation’ are used.

The rationale for this study is the fact that, although housing transformations, most often initiated by users, generally aim to increase quality, both in technical terms and in terms of the dwellers’ quality of life, this is not always proven in Post-Occupancy Evaluations (POEs). Making improvements in SH to increase the quality of life of low-income families’ therefore needs guidance. The complexity of factors involved in housing transformations and upgrading processes should be investigated. With this in mind, the research questions underpinning investigations of upgrading in SH are:

  1. What are the main declared reasons for user-initiated transformations in SH in Brazil?

  2. What are the user-desired improvements for SH in Brazil?

  3. How do transformations affect dwellers’ well-being and environmental comfort conditions?

  4. What are possible upgrading opportunities or actions to improve conditions that respond to dwellers’ needs and desires?

Background

Most studies on official SH upgrading programmes have technical goals for compliance to mandatory protocols, primarily to increase energy efficiency and adapt housing to climate change (MERCADER-MOYANO; ESQUIVIAS; MUNTEAN, 2020MERCADER-MOYANO, P.; ESQUIVIAS, P.M.; MUNTEAN, R. Eco-efficient analysis of a refurbishment proposal for social housing. Sustainability , v. 12, n. 17, p. 6725, 2020.; DOMINGUEZ-DELGADO; DOMÍNGUEZ-TORRES; DOMÍNGUEZ-TORRES, 2020DOMINGUEZ-DELGADO, A.; DOMÍNGUEZ-TORRES, H.; DOMÍNGUEZ-TORRES, C.-A. Energy and economic life cycle assessment of cool roofs applied to the refurbishment of Social Housing in southern Spain. Sustainability, v. 12, n. 14, p. paper 5602, 2020.; RAU et al., 2020RAU, H. et al. Changing energy cultures? Household energy use before and after a building energy efficiency retrofit. Sustainable Cities and Society, v. 54, p. 101983, 2020.; GAGLIANO et al., 2013GAGLIANO, A. et al. A case study of Energy Efficiency Retrofit in social housing units. Energy Procedia, v. 42, p. 289-298, 2013.). A technical upgrading process is complex, demanding a feasibility analysis, detailed design project, survey of costs, legislation, project approval, and various steps that include the building occupants during renovation activities (MORAES; QUELHAS, 2012MORAES, V. T. F.; QUELHAS, O. L. G. O desenvolvimento da metodologia e os processos de um “retrofit” arquitetônico. Sistemas & Gestão, v. 7, p. 448-461, 2012.).

Types of upgrading can be distinguished in terms of intervention categories and aims. Small or deeply invasive interventions are related to the extent of changes made. Specific technical interventions are related to maintenance necessities. Functional upgrading increases a building’s performance over time and attends to new ways of living. Regulations may oblige governments to upgrade SH. Social dynamics increase obsolescence, which may cause further upgrading pressures. Housing commissions or government programmes, instigated with political agendas, are common top-down initiatives in developed countries (EUROPEAN…, 2016EUROPEAN COMMISSION. The European construction sector: a global partner. European Union, 2016. Report of the European Commission.). Bottom-up user-instigated types of upgrading have various causes and objectives, which go beyond energy efficiency and thermal comfort (KARVONEN, 2013KARVONEN, A. Towards systemic domestic retrofit: a social practises approach. Building Research & Information, v. 41, n. 5, p. 563-574, out. 2013.; DOMINGUEZ-DELGADO; DOMÍNGUEZ-TORRES; DOMÍNGUEZ-TORRES, 2020DOMINGUEZ-DELGADO, A.; DOMÍNGUEZ-TORRES, H.; DOMÍNGUEZ-TORRES, C.-A. Energy and economic life cycle assessment of cool roofs applied to the refurbishment of Social Housing in southern Spain. Sustainability, v. 12, n. 14, p. paper 5602, 2020.).

In developed countries, government-sponsored financial incentives boost upgrading activities to achieve higher sustainability ratings (EUROPEAN..., 2016EUROPEAN COMMISSION. The European construction sector: a global partner. European Union, 2016. Report of the European Commission.). These transformations are often coupled to maintenance programmes and general improvement goals that may include the neighbourhood scale (POORTINGA et al., 2017POORTINGA, W. et al. Social and health outcomes following upgrades to a national housing standard: a multilevel analysis of a five-wave repeated cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health , v. 17, p. 927, dez. 2017.). Other motivations for intervening in the existing housing stock are changes in comfort standards, impacts of new ways of life and the extension of the functional useful life of buildings (SOJKOVA et al., 2019SOJKOVA, K. et al. Selection of favourable concept of energy retrofitting solution for Social Housing in the Czech Republic based on economic parameters, greenhouse gases, and primary energy consumption. Sustainability , v. 11, n. 22, p. 6482, 2019.; SYNNEFA et al., 2017SYNNEFA, A. et al. Transformation through Renovation: an energy efficient retrofit of an apartment building in Athens. Procedia Engineering , v. 180, p. 1003-1014, 2017.; MUDGE; SAMAN, 2017MUDGE, L.; SAMAN, W. The impact of air conditioning system upgrade on energy use and comfort in low income housing. Energy Procedia, v. 121, p. 26-32, 2017.; BREYSSE et al., 2011BREYSSE, J. et al. Health outcomes and green renovation of affordable housing. Public Health Reports, v. 126, sup. 1, p. 64-75, 2011.).

In many examples, construction maintenance demands are coupled to infrastructure improvements in public SH, such as kitchen and bathroom upgrading (TAUBE; HIROTA, 2017TAUBE, J.; HIROTA, E. H. Customização em massa no processo de provisão de Habitações de In teresse Social: um estudo de caso. Ambiente Construído , v. 17, n. 4, p. 253-268, 2017. ; ARAGÃO; HIROTA, 2016ARAGÃO, D. L .L. J. de; HIROTA, E. H. Sistematização de requisitos do usuário com o uso da Casa da Qualidade do QFD na etapa de concepção de unidades habitacionais de interesse social no âmbito do Programa Minha Casa, Minha Vida. Ambiente Construído, Porto Alegre, v. 16, n. 4, p. 271-291, out./dez. 2016.; BERR et al., 2015BERR, L.R. et al. Indicador de falhas de qualidade baseado na percepção dos usuários de Habitação de Interesse Social. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 15, n. 4, p. 19-35, out./dez. 2015. ). Ways of living change over time and family structures are affected. There are technology changes, both from construction itself and in general. For instance, access to information technology (IT) has gradually enabled people to work from home. Increasingly, new activities performed in living spaces have implications on SH design (LEDENT, 2017LEDENT, G. Permanence to allow Change: the archetypal room: the persistence of the 4x4 room. In: INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURAL RESEARCH CONFERENCE, Lisbon, 2016. Proceedings [...] Lisbon: EAAE, 2016.). Typical SH projects are based on small room dimensions, and therefore multicellular house designs no longer support such new functions (DE PARIS; LOPES, 2018DE PARIS, S. R.; LOPES, C. N. L. Housing flexibility problem: review of recent limitations and solutions. Frontiers of Architectural Research, v. 7, p. 80-91, 2018.). The ongoing pandemic currently emphasises this phenomenon.

Studies show that SH dwellers’ discontent is related to functional space dimensions, and the number of rooms. Rooms are considered too small for different uses (TAUBE; HIROTA, 2014TAUBE, J.; HIROTA, E. H. Análise do processo organizacional de provisão de his: caso de Londrina-PR. In: ENCONTRO DA ASSOCIAÇÃO NACIONAL DE TECNOLOGIA DO AMBIENTE CONSTRUÍDO, 15., Maceió, 2014. Anais [...] Maceió, 2014.). Social distancing and isolation are hampered, as observed during the Covid-19 pandemic (BORTOLI; VILLA, 2020BORTOLI, K. C. R. de; VILLA, S. B. Environmental adequacy as a facilitator attribute to built environment resilience in social housing. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 20, n. 1, p. 391-422, jan./mar. 2020.). Moreover, some recently available studies show that a lack of ventilation propagates the virus and that infection rates are higher in poorly designed and high-density housing developments (VILLELA, 2021VILLELA, D. A. M. Household crowding hampers mitigating the transmission of sars-cov-2. Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical, v. 54, p. 08212020, 2021.; ORTIZ; ITARD; BLUYSSEN, 2020ORTIZ, M.; ITARD, L.; BLUYSSEN, P. M. In door environmental quality related risk factors with energy-efficient retrofitting of housing: a literature review. Energy and Buildings, v. 221, n. 110102, 2020.). Thermal comfort is often the main research consideration in POE and simulation studies, to assess if adequately heated and well-insulated homes in cold climates, for instance, increase user well-being (ORRELL et al., 2013ORRELL, A. et al. The relationship between building design and residents’ quality of life in extra care housing schemes. Health and Place, v. 21, p. 52-64, 2013.; THOMSON et al., 2013THOMSON, H. et al. Housing improvements for health and associated socio-economic outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, v. 2, n. 2, p. CD008657, 2013.).

Poor housing conditions, safety, and security issues can affect physical and cognitive health and create conflict (MUIANGA et al., 2021MUIANGA, E. A. D. et al. Critical analysis of housing condition impacts on residents’ well-being and social costs. Gestão & Tecnologia De Projetos, v. 14, n. 4, p. 33-66, 2021.; ORTIZ; ITARD; BLUYSSEN, 2020ORTIZ, M.; ITARD, L.; BLUYSSEN, P. M. In door environmental quality related risk factors with energy-efficient retrofitting of housing: a literature review. Energy and Buildings, v. 221, n. 110102, 2020.; BARDHAN; SUNIKKA-BLANK; HAQUE, 2019BARDHAN, R.; SUNIKKA-BLANK, M.; HAQUE, A. N. Sentiment analysis as tool for gender mainstreaming in slum rehabilitation housing management in Mumbai, India. Habitat International , v. 92, n. 102040, 2019.; POORTINGA et al., 2017POORTINGA, W. et al. Social and health outcomes following upgrades to a national housing standard: a multilevel analysis of a five-wave repeated cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health , v. 17, p. 927, dez. 2017.). Health and well-being, including harmonious family and community life, are important goals for official housing upgrading programmes (STANDEN et al., 2020STANDEN, J. C. et al. Prioritising Housing Maintenance to Improve Health in In digenous Communities in NSW over 20 years. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, v. 17, n. 16, p. 5946, 2020.). The location of projects and their design and construction elements, directly determine living conditions and the quality of life of segments of the population. Upgrading programmes can thus not only improve living conditions but also improve social development (MOURATIDIS, 2020MOURATIDIS, K. Neighborhood characteristics, neighborhood satisfaction, and well-being: the links with neighborhood deprivation. Land Use Policy, v. 99, n. 104886, 2020.).

The concept of quality of life is based on an individuals’ well-being and extends to society as a whole (SWOPE; HERNÁNDEZ, 2019SWOPE, C. B.; HERNÁNDEZ, D. Housing as a determinant of health equity: a conceptual model. Social Science and Medicine, v. 243, p. 112571, 2019.; MCKIM, 1997MCKIM, R. A. Bidding strategies for conventional and trenchless technologies considering social costs. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, v. 24, n. 5, p. 819-827, 1997. ; FIELD, 1994FIELD, B. C. Environmental Economics: an introduction. London: McGraw-Hill Education, 1994. ). Housing essentially provides comfort, convenience, and safety. However, specific studies relating SH transformations to promote residents’ well-being and health, are still scarce, especially in developing countries such as Brazil (SEVERO; DE GUIMARÃES; DELLARMELIN, 2021SEVERO, E. A.; DE GUIMARÃES, J. C. F.; DELLARMELIN, M. L. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on environmental awareness, sustainable consumption and social responsibility: Evidence from generations in Brazil and Portugal. Journal of Cleaner Production , v. 286, p. 124947, mar. 2021.). Health is a vital impact factor on feelings of well-being, but other factors also play a part in a person’s quality of life (THEOFILOU, 2013THEOFILOU, P. Theoretical contributions quality of life: definition and measurement. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, v. 9, n. 1, p. 150-162, 2013.). These are employment, access to education, local commercial facilities, social services, conditions of accessibility, family relations, wealth, safety, freedom, and religious beliefs (MOURATIDIS, 2019MOURATIDIS, K. Built environment and leisure satisfaction: The role of commute time, social interaction, and active travel. Journal of Transport Geography, v. 80, p. 102491, 2019.; ORRELL et al., 2013ORRELL, A. et al. The relationship between building design and residents’ quality of life in extra care housing schemes. Health and Place, v. 21, p. 52-64, 2013.).

Investigations with social goals are considered essential to address well-being and environmental comfort issues with specific social dividends (WATSON et al., 2016WATSON, K. et al. Re-conceiving building design quality: a review of building users in their social context. In door and Built Environment, v. 25, n. 3, p. 509-523, 2016. ). Such studies investigate transformations to gain knowledge on well-being issues, and specific user needs and desires to support new housing projects’ planning and design details (FERNANDES; FORMOSO; TZORTZOPOULOS-FAZENDA, 2018FERNANDES, G. von der H.; FORMOSO, C.T.; TZORTZOPOULOS-FAZENDA, P. Método para verificação automatizada de requisitos em empreendimentos Habitacionais de Interesse Social. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 18, n. 4, p. 259-278, out./dez. 2018. ; TAUBE; HIROTA, 2017TAUBE, J.; HIROTA, E. H. Customização em massa no processo de provisão de Habitações de In teresse Social: um estudo de caso. Ambiente Construído , v. 17, n. 4, p. 253-268, 2017. ). These types of studies may be expanded to help programmes in decision-making on upgrading needs, attain positive results from transformations, avoid waste, and preserve dwellers’ well-being over time (VECCHIA; KOLAREVIC, 2020VECCHIA, L. F. D.; KOLAREVIC, B. Mass customization for social housing in evolving neighborhoods in Brazil. Sustainability , v. 12, n. 21, p. 1-19, 2020.; VILLA et al., 2017VILLA, S. B. et al. Co-production and resilience in a Brazilian social housing: the case of a shopping park neighbourhood. In: PLEA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: DESIGN TO THRIVE, 33., Edinburgh, 2017. Proceedings [...] Edinburgh: NCEUB , 2017.; BERR et al., 2015BERR, L.R. et al. Indicador de falhas de qualidade baseado na percepção dos usuários de Habitação de Interesse Social. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 15, n. 4, p. 19-35, out./dez. 2015. ).

The main reasons for upgrading programmes are related to sustainable standards, given the challenges posed by climate change and the social consequence of fuel poverty in cold climates. Energy efficiency is a significant driver of official upgrading programmes in developed countries, for compliance with environmental regulations (INTERGOVERNMENTAL..., 2018INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE. Global Warming of 1.5 oC. 2018. Disponível em: https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/. Acesso em: 15 jan. 2019.). Proactive energy efficiency and emission goals have user health and well-being dividends (SEMPRINI et al., 2017SEMPRINI, G. et al. New strategies towards nearly zero energy in existing buildings: the ABRACADABRA project. Energy Procedia, v. 140, p. 151-158, 2017.; ELSHARKAWY; RUTHERFORD, 2015ELSHARKAWY, H.; RUTHERFORD, P. Retrofitting social housing in the UK: Home energy use and performance in a pre-Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP). Energy and Buildings, v. 88, p. 25-33, 2015., 2018ELSHARKAWY, H.; RUTHERFORD, P. Energy-efficient retrofit of social housing in the UK: lessons learned from a Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) in Nottingham. Energy and Buildings, v. 172, p. 295-306, 2018.; SOARES et al., 2016SOARES, S. et al. Health and living conditions in social housing: comparison between rehabilitated and non-rehabilitated neighbourhoods. Journal of Public Health, v. 24, n. 6, p. 535-544, 2016.; PERETTI et al., 2015PERETTI, C. et al. Comfort and perceived air quality in refurbished social houses with mechanical ventilation system: The impact of occupants behaviour. Energy Procedia, v. 78, p. 2887-2892, 2015.).

Non-economic arguments for transforming existing SH through careful and impact-sensitive processes should be explored beyond energy efficiency (STENBERG, 2018STENBERG, J. Dilemmas associated with tenant participation in renovation of housing in marginalized areas may lead to system change. Cogent Social Sciences, v. 4, n. 1, p. 1-22, 2018.). Introducing improvements to SH neighbourhoods has been shown to alleviate social tensions (MOURATIDIS, 2020MOURATIDIS, K. Neighborhood characteristics, neighborhood satisfaction, and well-being: the links with neighborhood deprivation. Land Use Policy, v. 99, n. 104886, 2020.; MORAES; QUELHAS, 2012MORAES, V. T. F.; QUELHAS, O. L. G. O desenvolvimento da metodologia e os processos de um “retrofit” arquitetônico. Sistemas & Gestão, v. 7, p. 448-461, 2012.). Data also shows that upgrading the existing stock in many countries can indirectly alleviate housing deficits (BUCKLEY; KALLERGIS; WAINER, 2016BUCKLEY, R. M.; KALLERGIS, A.; WAINER, L. The emergence of large-scale housing programs: Beyond a public finance perspective. Habitat International , v. 54, p. 199-209, 2016.; MASTRODI; ZACCARA, 2016MASTRODI, J.; ZACCARA, S. M. L. S. Sobre a promoção do direito à moradia e do direito à cidade: um estudo à luz da política urbana do município de Campinas. Revista de Direito da Cidade, v. 8, n. 1, p. 1-28, 2016.). However, Hochstenbach (2015)HOCHSTENBACH, C. Stakeholder representations of gentrification in Amsterdam and Berlin: a marginal process? Housing Studies, v. 30, n. 6, p. 817-838, ago. 2015. warns that top-down programmes need careful planning to avoid social exclusions, gentrification, and increased polarisation between the rich and poor.

In developing countries, transformations of SH are mainly carried out through individual initiatives, motivated by predominantly poor design and construction quality of the original building (TRIANA; LAMBERTS; SASSI, 2018TRIANA, M. A.; LAMBERTS, R.; SASSI, P. Should we consider climate change for Brazilian social housing? Assessment of energy efficiency adaptation measures. Energy and Buildings, v. 158, p. 1379-1392, 2018.; SOARES et al., 2014SOARES, R. D. C. et al. Verificação de manifestações patológicas em condomínios residenciais do programa ‘Minha Casa, Minha Vida’ ocasionados por falta de manutenção preventiva da baixada Cuiabana. In : CONGRESSO BRASILEIRO DE PATOLOGIA DAS CONSTRUÇÕES, 1., Foz do Iguaçu, 2014. Anais [...] Foz do Iguaçu, 2014.; KOWALTOWSKI; GRANJA, 2011KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K.; GRANJA, A. D. The concept of desired value as a stimulus for change in social housing in Brazil. Habitat International , v. 35, n. 3, p. 435-446, jul. 2011.). In these countries, housing transformations take different forms and occur both in self-built and public SH (KOWALTOWSKI et al., 2021KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K. et al. Housing transformation in search of well-being. In: ENCONTRO NACIONAL DE CONFORTO NO AMBIENTE CONSTRUÍDO, 16., Palmas, 2020; ENCONTRO LATINO-AMERICANO DE CONFORTO NO AMBIENTE CONSTRUÍDO, 12., 2021. Anais [...] Palmas, 2021.).

The self-building of houses is common in these countries, mainly due to large housing deficits and the high cost of home acquisition through the free market (KOWALTOWSKI; PINA, 1995KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K.; PINA, S. A. M. G. Transformações de Casas Populares: uma avaliação. In: ENCONTRO NACIONAL, 3.; ENCONTRO LATINO-AMERICANO DE CONFORTO NO AMBIENTE CONSTRUÍDO, 1., Gramado, 1995. Anais [...] Gramado, 1995.). The basic need for shelter makes people act on their own, by building a home for themselves on acquired or, in many cases, illegally occupied land. Such self-built constructions are built over time, with multiple, often continuous changes introduced, which can also be considered transformations (TIPPLE, 2000TIPPLE, G. Extending themselves: user-initiated transformations of government built housing in developing countries. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press, 2000.; KOWALTOWSKI; PINA, 1995KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K.; PINA, S. A. M. G. Transformações de Casas Populares: uma avaliação. In: ENCONTRO NACIONAL, 3.; ENCONTRO LATINO-AMERICANO DE CONFORTO NO AMBIENTE CONSTRUÍDO, 1., Gramado, 1995. Anais [...] Gramado, 1995.).

In developing countries, users also transform public SH without the support of official programmes. In many cases, the changes made are not compliant with regulations. Users give specific reasons for intervening in their houses. Most people add space, considering their homes too small (NASCIMENTO et al., 2015NASCIMENTO, D. et al. Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida: desafios e avanços na Região Metropolitana de Belo Horizonte. In: AMORE, C. S.; SHIMBO, L. Z.; RUFINO, M. B. C. (ed.). Minha Casa... E a Cidade? Avaliação do Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida em seis estados brasileiros. Rio de Janeiro: Letra Capital, 2015.; MIRON; FORMOSO, 2010MIRON, L. I. G.; FORMOSO, C. T. Value generation in social housing projects: a case study on the city entrance integrated program in Porto Alegre, Brazil. In: ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL GROUP FOR LEAN CONSTRUCTION, 18., Haifa, 2010. Proceedings [...] Haifa, 2010.). In the 1990s, comparisons of self-built houses and SH projects showed a 30% difference in size, whereby SH dwellers intervene to gain additional space (KOWALTOWSKI; PINA, 1995KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K.; PINA, S. A. M. G. Transformações de Casas Populares: uma avaliação. In: ENCONTRO NACIONAL, 3.; ENCONTRO LATINO-AMERICANO DE CONFORTO NO AMBIENTE CONSTRUÍDO, 1., Gramado, 1995. Anais [...] Gramado, 1995.).

In Brazil, government housing programmes focus on reducing the housing deficit with political and economic goals. New constructions are prioritised in such agendas (MASTRODI; ZACCARA, 2016MASTRODI, J.; ZACCARA, S. M. L. S. Sobre a promoção do direito à moradia e do direito à cidade: um estudo à luz da política urbana do município de Campinas. Revista de Direito da Cidade, v. 8, n. 1, p. 1-28, 2016.). Many POE studies of the large housing programmes called “Minha Casa Minha Vida” (MCMV, My House My Life) show that changes are introduced by users, mostly in projects based on single-family houses (BORTOLI; VILLA, 2020BORTOLI, K. C. R. de; VILLA, S. B. Environmental adequacy as a facilitator attribute to built environment resilience in social housing. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 20, n. 1, p. 391-422, jan./mar. 2020.; COSTA, 2015COSTA, H. A. Flexibilidade espacial: barreiras para seu emprego em habitações de interesse social na cidade de Cuiabá, a partir do programa Minha Casa, Minha Vida. Cuiabá, 2015. Master’s Dissertation - Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Cuiabá, 2015.). Although there are many restrictions on changing the unit’s space offered by the MCMV programme, residents will nevertheless introduce adaptations and manage to print the most diverse marks of individualization on their homes (NASCIMENTO et al., 2015NASCIMENTO, D. et al. Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida: desafios e avanços na Região Metropolitana de Belo Horizonte. In: AMORE, C. S.; SHIMBO, L. Z.; RUFINO, M. B. C. (ed.). Minha Casa... E a Cidade? Avaliação do Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida em seis estados brasileiros. Rio de Janeiro: Letra Capital, 2015.). Many of these POE studies point out that environmental comfort conditions are negatively affected by such user-initiated, often well-intentioned transformations (BORTOLI; VILLA, 2020BORTOLI, K. C. R. de; VILLA, S. B. Environmental adequacy as a facilitator attribute to built environment resilience in social housing. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 20, n. 1, p. 391-422, jan./mar. 2020.; KOWALTOWSKI; PINA, 1995KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K.; PINA, S. A. M. G. Transformações de Casas Populares: uma avaliação. In: ENCONTRO NACIONAL, 3.; ENCONTRO LATINO-AMERICANO DE CONFORTO NO AMBIENTE CONSTRUÍDO, 1., Gramado, 1995. Anais [...] Gramado, 1995.). Additions may block the natural light and ventilation of existing spaces.

At the same time, interventions may be positive and innovative. Some studies showed the use of reused building materials or the creation of ventilation and natural lighting shafts between rooms. This demonstrates the potential for engaging this population in evaluating their home environments and participating in upgrading programmes when additional technical support is offered (BORTOLI; VILLA, 2020BORTOLI, K. C. R. de; VILLA, S. B. Environmental adequacy as a facilitator attribute to built environment resilience in social housing. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 20, n. 1, p. 391-422, jan./mar. 2020.; HORONGOSO; BOGO, 2018HORONGOSO, B.; BOGO, A. J. Avaliação pós-ocupação das condições de habitação em conjuntos habitacionais do PMCMV em Blumenau SC. HOLOS, v. 8, p. 59-71, 2018.).

A constant desire for more security and aesthetic improvements exists in Brazil, such as distinguishing one’s house from others or simply promoting change in appearance, exchanging the floor material, upgrading and updating installations of kitchens and bathrooms (NASCIMENTO et al., 2015NASCIMENTO, D. et al. Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida: desafios e avanços na Região Metropolitana de Belo Horizonte. In: AMORE, C. S.; SHIMBO, L. Z.; RUFINO, M. B. C. (ed.). Minha Casa... E a Cidade? Avaliação do Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida em seis estados brasileiros. Rio de Janeiro: Letra Capital, 2015.). These desires induce, in some cases, quite extensive changes to houses (BORTOLI; VILLA, 2020BORTOLI, K. C. R. de; VILLA, S. B. Environmental adequacy as a facilitator attribute to built environment resilience in social housing. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 20, n. 1, p. 391-422, jan./mar. 2020.). As security is the most crucial issue (KOWALTOWSKI; GRANJA, 2011KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K.; GRANJA, A. D. The concept of desired value as a stimulus for change in social housing in Brazil. Habitat International , v. 35, n. 3, p. 435-446, jul. 2011.), perimeter walls are built, and controlled entrance gates are installed. Such interventions demand new installations such as interphones, affecting shared utility bills in apartment buildings and houses in condominium-type neighbourhoods (SOARES et al., 2016SOARES, S. et al. Health and living conditions in social housing: comparison between rehabilitated and non-rehabilitated neighbourhoods. Journal of Public Health, v. 24, n. 6, p. 535-544, 2016.; NASCIMENTO et al., 2015NASCIMENTO, D. et al. Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida: desafios e avanços na Região Metropolitana de Belo Horizonte. In: AMORE, C. S.; SHIMBO, L. Z.; RUFINO, M. B. C. (ed.). Minha Casa... E a Cidade? Avaliação do Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida em seis estados brasileiros. Rio de Janeiro: Letra Capital, 2015.).

Construction waste is associated with transformation actions. A cycle whereby building, demolishing, and rebuilding takes place is evident in many of the cases studied (GARREFA et al., 2021GARREFA, F. et al. Resilience in social housing developments through post-occupancy evaluation and co-production. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 21, n. 2, p. 151-175, abr./jun. 2021.; HORONGOSO; BOGO, 2018HORONGOSO, B.; BOGO, A. J. Avaliação pós-ocupação das condições de habitação em conjuntos habitacionais do PMCMV em Blumenau SC. HOLOS, v. 8, p. 59-71, 2018.; JORGE et al., 2017JORGE, L.D. O. et al. The spontaneous transformation of Anglo social housing complex in Pelotas/RS: reflections about the urgency of the concept of Adaptable Social Housing. Cadernos do PROARQ 29: Edição especial 30 anos PROARQ, v. 29, p. 122-153, 2017.; SOARES et al., 2014SOARES, R. D. C. et al. Verificação de manifestações patológicas em condomínios residenciais do programa ‘Minha Casa, Minha Vida’ ocasionados por falta de manutenção preventiva da baixada Cuiabana. In : CONGRESSO BRASILEIRO DE PATOLOGIA DAS CONSTRUÇÕES, 1., Foz do Iguaçu, 2014. Anais [...] Foz do Iguaçu, 2014.). For multi-storey, multifamily SH, the desire for more space also exists, not able to be fulfilled, except for ground floor apartments in special cases. There are added desires, such as quiet living conditions, access to nature through green areas and landscaping, and parking places, as attested by users of apartments and single-family house owners in SH projects in Brazil (KOWALTOWSKI; GRANJA, 2011KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K.; GRANJA, A. D. The concept of desired value as a stimulus for change in social housing in Brazil. Habitat International , v. 35, n. 3, p. 435-446, jul. 2011.). In multi-family SH, such additions are predominantly on the ground floor, giving these apartment occupants opportunities to add private indoor space to the detriment of the whole project’s open public areas (REIS, 1995REIS, A. T. Avaliação de alterações realizadas pelo usuário no projeto original da habitação popular. In : ENCONTRO NACIONAL DE TECNOLOGIA DO AMBIENTE CONSTRUÍDO, 3., Gramado, 1995. Anais [...] Gramado, 1995.). Transformations that encroach on or affect public land and its use often cause conflict. Their planning and control need technical guidance and social assistance to measure the implications of such actions and how to mitigate them.

Although studies have identified quality problems in SH, the end-users’ perception of the final product is essential to provide feedback for design and construction stages (BERR et al., 2015BERR, L.R. et al. Indicador de falhas de qualidade baseado na percepção dos usuários de Habitação de Interesse Social. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 15, n. 4, p. 19-35, out./dez. 2015. ). A participatory planning and design process is advocated to include user needs and desires and avoid a further cycle of user-initiated unstructured and unsupported improvement interventions.

Bearing this in mind, the analysis of end-user demands based on transformation studies can help capture residents’ desires. Transferring residents’ needs and desires to products throughout the planning and design process may be facilitated, and priorities for official upgrading projects can be established (ARAGÃO; HIROTA, 2016ARAGÃO, D. L .L. J. de; HIROTA, E. H. Sistematização de requisitos do usuário com o uso da Casa da Qualidade do QFD na etapa de concepção de unidades habitacionais de interesse social no âmbito do Programa Minha Casa, Minha Vida. Ambiente Construído, Porto Alegre, v. 16, n. 4, p. 271-291, out./dez. 2016.).

Method

A Systematic Literature Review (SLR) method was used in this study (CAHYO, 2021CAHYO, W. N. Finding novelty of research with Systematic Literature Mapping (SLM). Journal of Physics: Conference Series, v. 1764, n. 1, p. 012186, 2021.; OKOLI, 2015OKOLI, C. A guide to conducting a standalone systematic literature review. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, v. 37, n. 43, p. 879-910, 2015.). However, the analysis goes beyond a summary of the data, aiming to make guidelines for SH upgrading programs based on evidence from the literature (XIAO; WATSON, 2019XIAO, Y.; WATSON, M. Guidance on Conducting a Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Planning Education and Research, v. 39, n. 1, p. 93-112, 2019. ).

Sample description and analysis

A panorama of results was generated through publications found in the databases used. Specific search strings were applied to four databases: Science direct, Scopus, Scielo, and Web of Science (Figure 1). Our study combined a set of terms in the search strings to ensure that the literature on the most common SH programme in Brazil would be included, as follows: upgrading, social housing, and its variations, as well as the term “minha casa minha vida” or “my house my life” in English.

Titles and abstracts of selected studies were analysed to create a panorama of the research. From 935 studies, 644 studies not matching the main issues (upgrading and SH, and its variations) were discarded after reading titles and abstracts. Moreover, 119 duplicated studies were removed. Another analysis involved reading all the texts of the remaining papers, and a further 33 documents were discarded. Thirteen studies were not accessible and therefore removed. Finally, 8 studies were added using the Snowballing Technique (ST). ST is a method used to include pertinent papers in the review not identified previously (KAUR; CHAHAL; SAINI, 2020KAUR, R.; CHAHAL, K. K.; SAINI, M. Understanding community participation and engagement in open source software projects: a systematic mapping study. Journal of King Saud University - Computer and Information Sciences, in press, 2020.; BARAT et al., 2017BARAT, S. et al. A Model-Based Approach to Systematic Review of Research Literature. In: INNOVATIONS IN SOFTWARE ENGINEERING CONFERENCE, 10., New York, 2017. Proceedings [...] New York: ACM, 2017.), using the selected documents’ reference list or citations (WOHLIN, 2014WOHLIN, C. Guidelines for snowballing in systematic literature studies and a replication in software engineering. In: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT IN SOFTWARE ENGINEERING, 18., London, 2014. Proceedings [...] London: ACM Press, 2014.).

A preliminary analysis of these 134 papers was refined to define the final sample. This analysis identified 87 studies on SH programmes considered irrelevant for the study, as they focused on specific SH issues not matching with the topics of transformations and upgrading. The final sample of papers for our analysis comprised 47 papers (Figure 2).

This sample was scrutinised to identify the types of transformations and improvements that occur in Brazilian SH and to understand how these upgrading projects relate to the desires and well-being needs of residents. The final studies accepted and grouped by their main issue are presented in Figure 2. A bibliometric analysis of our survey indicates three main upgrading fronts within the SH literature:

  1. layout, functionality, and post-occupancy evaluations;

  2. social and economic issues; and

  3. sustainability issues (environmental comfort and sustainability upgrading actions and strategies and energy efficiency methods).

Figure 1
SLR structure of documents analysis

Figure 2
Bibliometrics of topics found in the research analysed

Results and discussion

In this section, the main issues of SH transformations are presented. The results are discussed, according to the three identified fronts:

  1. layout, functionality, and post-occupancy evaluations;

  2. social and economic issues; and

  3. sustainability issues (environmental comfort and sustainability upgrading actions and strategies and energy efficiency methods).

Layout, functionality, and post-occupancy evaluations

The POE studies of SH developments identified dwellers’ needs and desires concerning functional issues and internal layouts in blocks of flats (multi-family), and single-family houses. Many investigations indicate that such studies have little impact on new developments; thus, errors are perpetuated, creating discontent and inducing transformations (TAUBE; HIROTA, 2017TAUBE, J.; HIROTA, E. H. Customização em massa no processo de provisão de Habitações de In teresse Social: um estudo de caso. Ambiente Construído , v. 17, n. 4, p. 253-268, 2017. ; BERR et al., 2015BERR, L.R. et al. Indicador de falhas de qualidade baseado na percepção dos usuários de Habitação de Interesse Social. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 15, n. 4, p. 19-35, out./dez. 2015. ). Requirement checking methods are indicated to ensure that SH models are revised in terms of minimum dimensions for domestic functions (FERNANDES; FORMOSO; TZORTZOPOULOS-FAZENDA, 2018FERNANDES, G. von der H.; FORMOSO, C.T.; TZORTZOPOULOS-FAZENDA, P. Método para verificação automatizada de requisitos em empreendimentos Habitacionais de Interesse Social. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 18, n. 4, p. 259-278, out./dez. 2018. ). Patterns of user complaints indicate potential paths for official upgrading actions (Figure 3).

Construction defects are perceived, and other technical issues are strongly associated with environmental comfort. People complain about small window openings for natural light and ventilation, both in multi-family buildings and single-family houses. Noise interference from neighbours is a frequent problem (BERR et al., 2015BERR, L.R. et al. Indicador de falhas de qualidade baseado na percepção dos usuários de Habitação de Interesse Social. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 15, n. 4, p. 19-35, out./dez. 2015. ). Such issues may affect people’s health (physical and mental), and therefore their well-being (MOURATIDIS, 2020MOURATIDIS, K. Neighborhood characteristics, neighborhood satisfaction, and well-being: the links with neighborhood deprivation. Land Use Policy, v. 99, n. 104886, 2020.).

Poorly ventilated spaces can cause respiratory diseases. However, environmental comfort and associated health issues are less prevalent reasons for upgrading by owners (THOMSON et al., 2013THOMSON, H. et al. Housing improvements for health and associated socio-economic outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, v. 2, n. 2, p. CD008657, 2013.). Functional convenience is a stronger driver to improve SH, and public SH owners primarily transform their homes to gain additional space in single-family houses. Private parking spaces are other frequent additions in multi-family building complexes. Desired design changes are often hampered by a lack of planning for expansions and minimum dimensional standards. A lack of foresight, i.e., a commitment by government programmes to housing quality, lack of design flexibility, and adaptability are also long-standing criticisms of SH programmes (HORONGOSO; BOGO, 2018HORONGOSO, B.; BOGO, A. J. Avaliação pós-ocupação das condições de habitação em conjuntos habitacionais do PMCMV em Blumenau SC. HOLOS, v. 8, p. 59-71, 2018.; NOWAKOWSKI, 2020NOWAKOWSKI, P. Ergonomic shaping of functional and spatial program of housing. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, v. 966, p. 208-217, 2020.).

Discontent with the landscaping of public areas of SH estates is prevalent in multi-story SH projects. Although users value vegetation, user-initiated actions for planting in public areas are rare, mainly due to weak community cohesion (ARAGÃO; HIROTA, 2016ARAGÃO, D. L .L. J. de; HIROTA, E. H. Sistematização de requisitos do usuário com o uso da Casa da Qualidade do QFD na etapa de concepção de unidades habitacionais de interesse social no âmbito do Programa Minha Casa, Minha Vida. Ambiente Construído, Porto Alegre, v. 16, n. 4, p. 271-291, out./dez. 2016.; KOWALTOWSKI et al., 2006KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K. et al. Quality of life and sustainability issues as seen by the population of low-income housing in the region of Campinas, Brazil. Habitat International , v. 30, n. 4, p. 1100-1114, 2006.). A major complaint continues to be the lack of security (KOWALTOWSKI; GRANJA, 2011KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K.; GRANJA, A. D. The concept of desired value as a stimulus for change in social housing in Brazil. Habitat International , v. 35, n. 3, p. 435-446, jul. 2011.), and the desire to have protective elements such as estate perimeter walls, guarded entrance gates, surveillance cameras, and bars on windows (MOREIRA; SILVEIRA, 2015MOREIRA, V. D. S.; SILVEIRA, S. D. F. R. Indicadores de desempenho do Programa Minha Casa, Minha Vida: avaliação com base na satisfação dos beneficiários. Cadernos Gestão Pública e Cidadania, v. 20, n. 66, p. 94-118, 2015.; NASCIMENTO et al., 2015NASCIMENTO, D. et al. Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida: desafios e avanços na Região Metropolitana de Belo Horizonte. In: AMORE, C. S.; SHIMBO, L. Z.; RUFINO, M. B. C. (ed.). Minha Casa... E a Cidade? Avaliação do Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida em seis estados brasileiros. Rio de Janeiro: Letra Capital, 2015.). This occurs in both multi-family buildings and single-family houses in condominium structured neighbourhoods.

From the occupants’ perspective, main expectations shed light on upgrading measures to be prioritised (Figure 4). Many transformations respond to desires to individualise the home through decorative elements. Users change finishing and front doors and windows, and exterior wall colours in single-family houses. In Brazil, this trend reaffirms the psychological need for identity.

Figure 3
User complaint element descriptions

Figure 4
User requirements concerning upgrading interventions in SH

Transformations of multi-family housing show that users are enterprising with their adaptations. Small shops and workshops are installed in dwellings, even in multi-storey buildings. In addition, trailers are placed on the streets, comprising a diversity of commercial activities (ARAGÃO; HIROTA, 2016ARAGÃO, D. L .L. J. de; HIROTA, E. H. Sistematização de requisitos do usuário com o uso da Casa da Qualidade do QFD na etapa de concepção de unidades habitacionais de interesse social no âmbito do Programa Minha Casa, Minha Vida. Ambiente Construído, Porto Alegre, v. 16, n. 4, p. 271-291, out./dez. 2016.). This phenomenon encroaches on public space and may cause general deterioration to a neighbourhood, although permitting better access to services (KOWALTOWSKI; GRANJA, 2011KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K.; GRANJA, A. D. The concept of desired value as a stimulus for change in social housing in Brazil. Habitat International , v. 35, n. 3, p. 435-446, jul. 2011.).

Low-income populations are affected by the lack of consistent policies, as well as severe budget constraints (Figure 5). Policymakers often face a trade-off between quantity and quality to meet a housing shortage (GONZÁLEZ MAHECHA et al., 2020GONZÁLEZ MAHECHA, R. E. et al. Constructive systems for social housing deployment in developing countries: A case study using dynamic life cycle carbon assessment and cost analysis in Brazil. Energy and Buildings, v. 227, p. 110395, 2020.). Once units are occupied, recurrent costs with, for instance, mortgage and utility bills may reduce potential upgrading interventions (MOREIRA; SILVEIRA, 2015MOREIRA, V. D. S.; SILVEIRA, S. D. F. R. Indicadores de desempenho do Programa Minha Casa, Minha Vida: avaliação com base na satisfação dos beneficiários. Cadernos Gestão Pública e Cidadania, v. 20, n. 66, p. 94-118, 2015.; NASCIMENTO et al., 2015NASCIMENTO, D. et al. Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida: desafios e avanços na Região Metropolitana de Belo Horizonte. In: AMORE, C. S.; SHIMBO, L. Z.; RUFINO, M. B. C. (ed.). Minha Casa... E a Cidade? Avaliação do Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida em seis estados brasileiros. Rio de Janeiro: Letra Capital, 2015.; MIRON; FORMOSO, 2010MIRON, L. I. G.; FORMOSO, C. T. Value generation in social housing projects: a case study on the city entrance integrated program in Porto Alegre, Brazil. In: ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL GROUP FOR LEAN CONSTRUCTION, 18., Haifa, 2010. Proceedings [...] Haifa, 2010.). Generally, upgradings increase the value of buildings and give homeowners incentives to introduce improvements once mortgages are fully paid. However, with the lowest income groups, any extra expenses are prohibitive.

Social and economic issues

The urban isolation of SH estates is criticised as it reduces the potential for extra income opportunities (KOWALTOWSKI et al., 2018KOWALTOWSKI, D. C. C. K. et al. A critical analysis of research of a mass-housing programme. Building Research and Information, v. 47, n. 6, 2018.). As shown in Figure 5, social and economic issues are impacted by the location of most SH estates, at the urban fringes (MASTRODI; ZACCARA, 2016MASTRODI, J.; ZACCARA, S. M. L. S. Sobre a promoção do direito à moradia e do direito à cidade: um estudo à luz da política urbana do município de Campinas. Revista de Direito da Cidade, v. 8, n. 1, p. 1-28, 2016.).

Families find themselves located far from their employment and social networks, which causes discontent (ACOLIN; HOEK-SMIT; ELOY, 2019ACOLIN, A.; HOEK-SMIT, M.C.; ELOY, C. M. High delinquency rates in Brazil’s Minha Casa Minha Vida housing program: Possible causes and necessary reforms. Habitat International, v. 83, p. 99-110, 2019.; BORGES et al., 2017BORGES, E. D. M. et al. Habitação Social e desenvolvimento urbano sustentável: o caso da região metropolitana de Goiânia. Geo UERJ, v. 30, p. 122-144, 2017.). As location cannot be changed, upgrading actions should be implemented to improve neighbourhoods through infrastructure, parks, schools, and services (GONÇALVESet al., 2020GONÇALVES, D. K. de O. et al. Qualitative and quantitative assessment of urban sustainability in Social Housing Using the Casa Azul Label and SBTool Urban in Brazil. Applied Sciences, v. 10, n. 18, p. 6246, 2020.; ACOLIN; HOEK-SMIT; ELOY, 2019ACOLIN, A.; HOEK-SMIT, M.C.; ELOY, C. M. High delinquency rates in Brazil’s Minha Casa Minha Vida housing program: Possible causes and necessary reforms. Habitat International, v. 83, p. 99-110, 2019.). However, erroneous identification of demands through socioeconomic surveys seems to be the major obstacle to implementing urban renewal programmes (PAES; NEVES, 2017PAES, T. H. S. de L.; NEVES, R. M. das. Contribuições para minimização de impacto negativo gerado por intervenções de urbanização em área de ocupação irregular: estudo de caso em Belém (PA). Arquitetura revista, v. 13, n. 1, p. 1-8, 2017.).

Sustainability issues (environmental comfort and sustainability upgrading actions and strategies and energy efficiency methods)

SH programmes should consider environmental comfort and sustainability in the design and implementation phases of a project, including related economic issues (SIQUEIRA-GAY; SÁNCHEZ, 2019SIQUEIRA-GAY, J.; SÁNCHEZ, L. E. Mainstreaming environmental issues into housing plans: the approach of Strategic Environmental Assessment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review , v. 77, p. 145-153, 2019.; GIANNETTI et al., 2018GIANNETTI, B. F. et al. Towards more sustainable social housing projects: Recognizing the importance of using local resources. Building and Environment, v. 127, p. 187-203, 2018. ). Figure 6 shows strategies for upgrading, actions to improve environmental comfort and the overall sustainability of SH estates.

Correct constructive systems are essential to provide thermal comfort and to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) concerning energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially for large SH estates (GONZÁLEZ MAHECHA et al., 2020GONZÁLEZ MAHECHA, R. E. et al. Constructive systems for social housing deployment in developing countries: A case study using dynamic life cycle carbon assessment and cost analysis in Brazil. Energy and Buildings, v. 227, p. 110395, 2020.). However, SH in Brazil mostly uses a low-standard construction system, with few concerns for location and bioclimatic zones. Heat discomfort is felt in the summer, and in some regions, cold discomfort can occur in winter (KRÜGER, 2015KRÜGER, E. L. Urban heat island and indoor comfort effects in social housing dwellings. Landscape and Urban Planning, v. 134, p. 147-156, 2015.). Moreover, damp conditions and rain infiltration are common. Most SH units are poorly lit and ventilated (MASOTTI et al., 2011MASOTTI, C. et al. Self-help retrofitting technologies for low-cost housing construction: the case study of Vila Novo Ouro Preto, Brasil. Procedia Engineering, v. 21, p. 625-632, 2011.). In many cases, upgrading is urgent to improve thermal and comfort conditions and raise sustainability standards (GOMES; ADÃO, 2017GOMES, V.; ADÃO, M. Sustainability performance tracking of social housing: the tale of two projects in Brazil. In: PLEA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: DESIGN TO THRIVE, 33., Edinburgh, 2017. Proceedings [...] Edinburgh: NCEUB, 2017.; MASOTTI et al., 2011MASOTTI, C. et al. Self-help retrofitting technologies for low-cost housing construction: the case study of Vila Novo Ouro Preto, Brasil. Procedia Engineering, v. 21, p. 625-632, 2011.). Achieving better thermal conditions may reduce the need for air conditioning, a major consideration in Brazil, where hot climates prevail. The proliferation of air conditioning has negative impacts on energy efficiency. The very poor will continue to live in substandard thermal conditions and for those low-income families that acquire air conditioning spending power on food and education is reduced through increased electricity bills.

Energy efficiency is a significant focus of SH studies carried out in Brazil as shown by the many references in Figure 7. These studies are based on simulations with recommendations for future upgrading programmes. Strategies and models to achieve thermal and energy performance are presented.

Meta-models, simulations (ROSSI et al., 2019ROSSI, M. M. et al. Metamodels to assess the thermal performance of naturally ventilated, low-cost houses in Brazil. Energy and Buildings, v. 204, p. 109457, 2019.; KRÜGER; LAROCA, 2010KRÜGER, E. L.; LAROCA, C. Thermal performance evaluation of a low-cost housing prototype made with plywood panels in Southern Brazil. AppliedEnergy , v. 87, n. 2, p. 661-672, 2010.), laws, photovoltaic panels, and solar water heating are the main strategies tested to enhance energy efficiency in SH (PINTO; AMARAL; JANISSEK, 2016PINTO, J. T. M.; AMARAL, K. J.; JANISSEK, P. R. Deployment of photovoltaics in Brazil: scenarios, perspectives and policies for low-income housing. SolarEnergy , v. 133, p. 73-84, 2016.; VALE et al., 2017VALE, A. M. et al. Analysis of the economic viability of a photovoltaic generation project applied to the Brazilian housing program “Minha Casa Minha Vida”. Energy Policy, v. 108, p. 292-298, 2017.; TRIANA; LAMBERTS; SASSI, 2015TRIANA, M. A.; LAMBERTS, R.; SASSI, P. Characterisation of representative building typologies for social housing projects in Brazil and its energy performance. Energy Policy , v. 87, p. 524-541, dez. 2015., 2018TRIANA, M. A.; LAMBERTS, R.; SASSI, P. Should we consider climate change for Brazilian social housing? Assessment of energy efficiency adaptation measures. Energy and Buildings, v. 158, p. 1379-1392, 2018.; OLIVEIRA; SOUZA; DA SILVA, 2017OLIVEIRA, R. D.; SOUZA, R. V. G. de; DA SILVA, R. M. Issues to be improved on the thermal performance standards for sustainable buildings consolidation: an overview of Brazil. Energy Procedia, v. 111, p. 71-80, 2017.; MORENO; MORAIS; SOUZA, 2017MORENO, A. C. R.; MORAIS, I. S. de; SOUZA, R. G. de. Thermal performance of Social Housing: a study based on brazilian regulations. Energy Procedia, v. 111, p. 111-120, 2017.; NUNES et al., 2020NUNES, G. et al. Thermo-energetic performance of wooden dwellings: benefits of cross-laminated timber in Brazilian climates. Journal of Building Engineering, v. 32, p. 101468, 2020.; BAVARESCO et al., 2021BAVARESCO, M. V. et al. Aspectos impactantes no desempenho energético de habitações de interesse social brasileiras: revisão de literatura. Ambiente Construído , Porto Alegre, v. 21, n. 1, p. 263-292, jan./mar. 2021. ). Although those strategies contribute to the general goals of sustainability issues and climate change control, most of them require a high initial investment to be implemented. Solar water heating excluded in developing countries, such as Brazil, demonstrate fewer opportunities to include those strategies (NASPOLINI; RÜTHER, 2017NASPOLINI, H. F.; RÜTHER, R. Impacts of Domestic Solar Water Heating (DSWH) systems on the cost of a hot shower in low-income dwellings in Brazil. Renewable Energy , v. 111, p. 124-130, 2017.; BESSA; PRADO, 2015BESSA, V. M. T.; PRADO, R. T. A. Reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by solar water heating systems and passive technologies in social housing. Energy Policy, v. 83, p. 138-150, 2015.).

Overall discussions of research results

SH POE studies in Brazil show varied user quality of life impacts of housing transformations. Both for multi-family and single-family housing, reasons to change the home environment relate to space dimensions and the small number of rooms in these housing types. Maintenance and upgrading of bathroom and kitchen fixtures is also a constant necessity and desire. Importance should be given to consider different family compositions, as non-traditional setups are becoming more common in Brazil.

Due to high criminality rates and a specific cultural context concerning security in Brazil, perimeter fences and walls of housing complexes are considered upgrading priority. A lack of well landscaped green spaces for leisure activities impact SH populations by curtailing physical activities and positive social encounters. Moreover, additional space for income opportunities creating small local businesses is a strong motive for transformations.

Figure 5
Identification of social and economic issues

Figure 6
Environmental comfort and sustainability upgrading actions and strategies

Figure 7
Energy efficiency strategies and methods

People desire shading and rain protection for their cars. In multi-family housing complexes parking areas are often roofed on an individual basis. A collective solution, although technically more rational and more economic, is rarely adopted due to a lack of a community spirit and difficulties to gain a consensus on interventions that impact individual families financially.

Outdoor public path lighting is mostly absent and should be installed with a low consumption performance system. Other interventions, such as Internet connection, often not part of typical building upgrading processes, may enhance job and education opportunities, and should be promoted. IT investments are a priority to support ways of living today. Moreover, on a very different level, solid waste services need improving in most SH developments.

Urban issues affect the well-being and quality of life of SH dwellers. Demands for infrastructure, services and equipment in the neighbourhood are recurrent requests. Improvements in the spatial quality are fundamental elements to be considered in upgrading housing projects.

Most Brazilian SH, for the lowest-income population, is located in monofunctional zones on city outskirts. Inadequate urban mobility is a serious problem affecting the quality of life of SH dwellers with fewer job opportunities and stress due to long daily journeys to reach work destinations, services, as well as educational and cultural institutions. When upgrading programmes are put into place, the psychological well-being of users’ needs to be included in quality of life issues.

Most studies indicate the desire to live in a quiet place, thus noise control measures should be put into place. These may involve, in some cases, substantial transformations. Acoustic highway barriers are required in special cases, ceiling panels may need to be installed in apartments, and windows and doors may need to be changed.

Although sustainability is less considered in the current scenario of Brazilian SH production, this issue demands critical analysis and actions for improvements. In relation to this, energy efficiency is an important factor, considering the impacts of climate change.

Housing improvement actions

Different actions should guide improvements in SH to improve dwellers´ quality of life. Functionality, environmental psychology, environmental comfort, housing communication systems and infrastructure, sustainability, and social issues are the main topics of actions for housing upgrading detected by our SLR. Table 1 presents specific actions indicated to improve housing conditions. However, the active participation of dwellers is fundamental to achieve positive results as context is crucial to successful upgrading programmes.

Table 1
Actions to guide improvements and achieve housing transformations

Conclusions

Our analysis evaluated prevailing types of transformations occurring in SH in Brazil. The reasons for changes and desired improvements to homes are seen as opportunities for upgrading. The prevalent comfort, privacy, security, design, layout and economic problems outlined here directly affect the well-being of individuals. Many user-initiated transformations of houses do not always resolve problems, and can affect the health of dwellers negatively. Especially for single family houses, thermal and natural lighting comfort conditions are reduced with new additions that block original openings. In apartment buildings, environmental comfort upgrading needs are mainly associated with noise problems which are difficult to solve, demanding behavioural as well as design changes.

Upgrading actions, to improve SH sustainability and energy efficiency, are outlined in many studies through simulations. These studies recommend strategies to mitigate problems. Better ventilation and natural lighting through larger window openings are indicated. Enhanced thermal performance of walls through insulation and shading can also be achieved, requiring in-depth and costly upgrading. For energy efficiency, many studies present strategies on how to intervene, and monitoring methods are outlined.

This study has shown that upgrading of SH is not only about technical issues but also touches on subjective details. To quote the latest Pritzker Prize winners, the French Architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, “Buildings are beautiful when people feel well in them” and to achieve this, the built environment needs to be “repurposed, reinvented, reinvigorated”. An urgent question arises on how this can be achieved efficiently, whilst avoiding the repetitions of past errors in SH. SH upgrading needs to involve users and other stakeholders through participatory methods and co-designed solutions. The promotion of social innovations are seen as a means to increase people’s perception of the environment and their self-involvement in introducing positive change. The often intricate and conflictive relationships involved must be mitigated so that stakeholders partnering in SH upgrades are also engaged to design, finance, and implement the outcomes needed to effectively make a difference in people’s well-being and lives.

New ways-of-living increase the necessity for upgrading SH based on old models. The ongoing pandemic, which heavily hit Brazil, makes it dramatically evident that additional and specific actions are fundamental for SH and its urban areas. The pandemic affects families´ ways of living and habits. In most cases, space is inadequate for social distancing and generally lacks proper functional arrangements for a family to stay at home. Social distancing measures have induced many families to transform the physical environment for daily work, schooling, and isolation needs. Leisure and other individual needs have also induced home alterations by users, although for SH with some difficulties (VILLELA, 2021VILLELA, D. A. M. Household crowding hampers mitigating the transmission of sars-cov-2. Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical, v. 54, p. 08212020, 2021.).

Thus, for future studies, we will concentrate on the issues of new ways of living and post Covid-19 pandemic upgrading needs for SH. More research is also necessary to accurately specify priority building construction details to provide quality living conditions for low-income families.

Funding

The authors would like to thank the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo - FAPESP [Processes #2020/06462-0, #2019/02240-5], and CNPQ [Processes #311146/2020-1 (ADG); #302080/2017-1 (DCCKK); #306048/2018-3 (VGS)] the national research funding agency for the generous funding support.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    09 Sept 2022
  • Date of issue
    Oct-Dec 2022

History

  • Received
    11 Dec 2021
  • Accepted
    24 Feb 2022
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