Designing homes with meanings: Construction of a tool based on human values

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


Houses were among the first structures that were built, and remain the most common type of building today. The design of housing has been the subject of architecture, while from a psychological point of view the meaning of home has been a major subject of research. These two different viewpoints are combined in this research to provide a tool for designers to design based on values. First a quantitative study was carried out to match activities and spaces in the home to human values (Schwartz, 2000). This resulted in a design-tool that consists of the ten values (hedonism, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, conformity, tradition, power, and achievement) associated activities and spaces, and hierarchical graphs based on space syntax. Lastly opposing spatial features were laid over the two dimensions (openness to change vs. conservation and self-transcendence vs. self-enhancement). Subsequently this tool was used to design seven houses, which were used to find out whether the values designed in the houses were also recognised as such. Houses with values preferred by the interviewees, were chosen more often than values on the other end of the circle, indicating that the tool is of some help when certain meanings need to be communicated by design.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2015
Event11th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology: Bridging theory and practice: inspiring the future of environmental psychology - Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 24 Aug 201526 Aug 2015
Conference number: 11


Conference11th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology
Abbreviated titleBCEP2015
Internet address


  • home design
  • values


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