Share This Article:

Sociocultural Context and Vernacular Housing Morphology: A Case Study

Full-Text HTML Download Download as PDF (Size:6112KB) PP. 220-232
DOI: 10.4236/cus.2014.23022    5,956 Downloads   6,985 Views   Citations


Various dimensions and forces tend to transform urban housing morphology over time. These impacting elements do not equally contribute to the formation of dwellings. One of the main va-riables in urban housing is the sociocultural attributes that contribute to the morphological for-mation of different types of human habitats. The study focuses on the relations between sociocul-tural dimension and spatial configuration in terms of design process, transformation, and mor-phological attributes. Grounding a conceptual framework in a case study of vernacular housing in the cities of Ramsar and Tonekabon in Northern parts of Iran, the study explores the housing morphology of a vernacular dwelling. Implementing a qualitative approach, the research methods of the study consist of descriptive-analytical method, case study, and logical reasoning. Firstly, a conceptual framework is generated through desk study and non-participatory observation. Se-condly, housing typology, morphological mapping, and face-to-face interview have been conducted within the field study. Finally, the study explores the spatial configuration and morphology of the vernacular urban housing in relation to the conceptual framework. Findings indicate the complexity of relations between multilayered hierarchies of sociocultural factors and urban housing form in terms of physical form and spatial configuration in the case study of vernacular housing.

Cite this paper

Kamalipour, H. and Zaroudi, M. (2014) Sociocultural Context and Vernacular Housing Morphology: A Case Study. Current Urban Studies, 2, 220-232. doi: 10.4236/cus.2014.23022.


[1] Alexander, C. (1979). The Timeless Way of Building. New York: Oxford University Press.
[2] Alexander, C. (2002). The Phenomenon of Life: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe. Berkeley, CA: Center for Environmental Structure.
[3] Alexander, C., Ishikawa, S., & Silverstein, M. (1977). A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. New York: Oxford University Press.
[4] Brunskill, R. W. (1981). Traditional Buildings of Britain: An Introduction to Vernacular Architecture. London: Gollancz.
[5] Casey, E. S. (1997). The Fate of Place. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
[6] Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Method Approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
[7] Easthope, H. (2004). A Place Called Home. Housing, Theory and Society, 21, 128-138.
[8] Fathy, H. (1973). Architecture for the Poor: An Experiment in Rural Egypt (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
[9] Flyvbjerg, B. (2004). Five Misunderstandings about Case-Study Research. In C. Seale, G. Gobo, J. F. Gubrium, & D. Silverman (Eds.), Qualitative Research Practice (pp. 420-434). London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[10] Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and Time (J. Macquarrie, & E. Robinson, Trans.). New York: Harper & Row.
[11] Hillier, B. (1996). Space Is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.
[12] Hillier, B. (1999). The Common Language of Space: A Way of Looking at the Social, Economic and Environmental. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 11, 344.
[13] Hillier, B. (2008). Space and Spatiality: What the Built Environment Needs from Social Theory. Building Research & Information, 36, 216-230.
[14] Hillier, B. (2010). What Do We Need to Add to a Social Network to Get a Society? The Journal of Space Syntax, 1, 41-58.
[15] Hillier, B., & Hanson, J. (1984). The Social Logic of Space. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.
[16] Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
[17] Holton, R. J. (2011). Globalization and the Nation State (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
[18] Kamalipour, H., Arab, A. D., Soltani, S., Alavi, S. N., & Mirzaei, E. (2013). Understanding Continuity and Change in the Persian Vernacular Settlements: A Comparative Syntactic Analysis of Urban Public Spaces in a Case Study. Current Urban Studies, 1, 130-138.
[19] Kamalipour, H., Jalaladini, S., Fakharzadeh, M. H., Motedayen, M. A., & Arab, A. D. (2012). Urban Public Spaces and Social Attributes in the Naein Historic Walled City. The ICUCI 2012: International Conference Urban Change in Iran, University College London, 8-9 November 2012.
[20] Kamalipour, H., Faizi, M., & Memarian, G. (2014). Safe Place by Design: Urban Crime in Relation to Spatiality and Sociality. Current Urban Studies, 2, 152-162.
[21] Kamalipour, H., Memarian, G., & Faizi, M. (2014). Urban Crime and Pattern Conceptions: Departuring from Spatiality. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 441-450.
[22] Kamalipour, H., Memarian, G., & Mousavian, F. (2012). Exploring the Myth of Four in the Persian Vernacular Architecture. The IASTE 2012: The Myth of Tradition, Portland, 4-7 October 2012.
[23] Kamalipour, H., Memarian, G., Faizi, M., & Mousavian, F. (2012). Formal Classification and Spatial Configuration in Vernacular Housing: A Comparative Study on the Zoning of the Reception Area in Traditional Houses of Kerman Province. Journal of Housing and Rural Environment, 31, 3-16.
[24] Kamalipour, H., Memarian, G., Faizi, M., & Mousavian, S. M. F. (2013). Evaluating CPTED Measures in Historical Urban Public Places: A Syntactic Analysis of a Case Study. Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research, 3, 795-805.
[25] Kamalipour, H., Yeganeh, A. J., & Alalhesabi, M. (2012). Predictors of Place Attachment in Urban Residential Environments: A Residential Complex Case Study. Procedia, Social and Behavioral Sciences, 35, 459-467.
[26] Kellett, P., & Napier, M. (1995). Squatter Architecture? A Critical Examination of Vernacular Theory and Spontaneous Settlement with Reference to South America and South Africa. Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, 6, 7-24.
[27] Lawrence, R. J. (1987). Housing, Dwellings and Homes: Design Theory, Research and Practice. Chichester: Wiley.
[28] Malpas, J. (2008). New Media, Cultural Heritage and the Sense of Place: Mapping the Conceptual Ground. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 14, 197-209.
[29] Marshall, S., & ?ali?kan, O. (2011). A Joint Framework for Urban Morphology and Design. Built Environment, 37, 409-426.
[30] Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and Personality (2nd ed.). New York: Harper & Row.
[31] Massey, D. B. (1995). The Conceptualization of Place. In D. B. Massey, & P. Jess (Eds.), A Place in the World? Places, Cultures and Globalization (pp. 45-85). Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
[32] Memarian, G. H., Hashemi, T. O. S. M., & Kamalipour, H. (2010). The impact of religious culture on organization of houses comparative study of houses in Islamic, Zoroastrian, and Jewish districts of Kerman. Iranian Journal of Cultural Research, 2, 1-25.
[33] Memarian, G. H., Hashemi Toghr-oljerdi, S. M., & Kamalipour, H. (2012). The Impact of Religious and Behavioral Patterns on the Order of Vernacular Settlements: A Comparative Case Study. International Journal of Architecture Engineering & Urban Planning, 22, 91-99.
[34] Moudon, A. V. (1997). Urban Morphology as an Emerging Interdisciplinary Field. Urban Morphology, 1, 3-10.
[35] Norberg-Schulz, C. (1980). Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture. New York: Rizzoli.
[36] Oliver, P. (1990). Vernacular Know-How. In M. Turan (Ed.), Vernacular Architecture: Paradigms of Environmental Response (pp. 146-160). Brookfield, WI: Avebury.
[37] Oliver, P. (2006). Built to Meet Needs: Cultural Issues in Vernacular Architecture. Amsterdam, Boston, London: Architectural Press.
[38] Rapoport, A. (1969). House Form and Culture. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
[39] Rapoport, A. (1980). Cross-Cultural Aspects of Environmental Design. In I. Altman, A. Rapoport, & J. F. Wohlwill (Eds.), Environment and Culture (pp. 7-46). New York: Springer.
[40] Rapoport, A. (1988). Spontaneous Settlements as Vernacular Design. In C. V. Patton (Ed.), Spontaneous Shelter: International Perspectives and Prospects (pp. 51-77). Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
[41] Rapoport, A. (1990). Systems of Activities and Systems of Settings. In S. Kent (Ed.), Domestic Architecture and the Use of Space (pp. 9-20). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[42] Rapoport, A. (1994). Spatial Organization and the Built Environment. In T. Ingold (Ed.), Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology: Humanity, Culture and Social Life (pp. 460-502). London: Routledge.
[43] Rapoport, A. (1998). Using Culture in Housing Design. Housing and Society, 25, 1-20.
[44] Rapoport, A. (2000). Theory, Culture and Housing. Housing, Theory and Society, 17, 145-165.
[45] Rapoport, A. (2005). Culture, Architecture and Design. Chicago, IL: Locke Scientific.
[46] Rudofsky, B. (1964). Architecture without Architects: An Introduction to Nonpedigreed Architecture. New York: Museum of Modern Art.
[47] Saleh, M. A. E. (2001). The Evolution of Planning & Urban Theory from the Perspective of Vernacular Design. Land Use Policy, 18, 179-190.
[48] Saleh, M. A. E. (2004). Learning from Tradition: The Planning of Residential Neighborhoods in a Changing World. Habitat International, 28, 625-639.
[49] Salingaros, N. A. (1997). Life and Complexity in Architecture from a Thermodynamic Analogy. Physics Essays, 10, 165- 173.
[50] Salingaros, N. A. (2000). The Structure of Pattern Languages. Architectural Research Quarterly, 4, 149-161.
[51] Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational Culture and Leadership. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
[52] Tuan, Y. F. (1977). Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
[53] Turner, J. F. C. (1968). Housing Priorities, Settlement Patterns and Urban Development in Modernizing Countries. Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 34, 354-363.
[54] Turner, J. F. C. (1978). Housing in Three Dimensions: Terms of Reference for the Housing Question Redefined. World Development, 6, 1135-1145.
[55] Vellinga, M. (2013). The Noble Vernacular. The Journal of Architecture, 18, 570-590.
[56] Yin, R. K. (2009). Case Study Research: Design and Methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2018 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.