Chalmers Conferences, Transvaluation: Making the world matter

Cultural Value of Architects in Homes and Neighbourhoods
Samuel Flora, Nishat Awan, Carolyn Butterworth, Sophie Handler, Jo Lintonbon

Last modified: 2015-08-18


This paper provides an account of the Cultural Value of Architecture in Homes and Neighbourhoods, (CVoA), a project developed with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The first stage of the project was a critical review of ‘grey literature’ since 2000, industry based research on the value of architecture subdivided into themes: overall value; health and wellbeing; neighbourhood cohesion and heritage and belonging. Findings from the review revealed a marked absence of evidence of the value of architecture and an over preoccupation with the final building, the product of an interdisciplinary team not just Architects, as well as a general confusion about what it is that Architects do. Further consultation has led to the development of a framework for defining and communicating the skillsets of Architects and for developing an evidence base for their value. Our target audience is non-Architects as we are concerned with making the profession more inclusive hence our desire to create simple definitions and terminology.


Architect; value; professional; wellbeing; neighbourhoods; community


00:/, 2011. Compendium for the Civic Economy, London: 00:/.

Alexiou, K., Zamenopoulos, T. & Alevizou, G., 2012. Valuing Community-Led Design,, date 2015-06-13

Armitage, R., 2013. Crime Prevention Through housing Design: Policy and Practice, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Auger, C.P., 1998. Grey Literature 4th Edition, London: Bowker Saur.

Awan, N. & Langley, P., 2013. Mapping Migrant Territories as Topological Deformations of Space. Space and Culture, 16(2), pp.229–245.

Barnes, S. et al., 2012. Does the design of extra-care housing meet the needs of the residents? A focus group study. Ageing & Society, 32(07), pp.1193–1214.

Benedikt, M. ed., 1997. Center/10 Value, Austin Texas: Center for American Architecture and Design.

De Botton, A., 2006. The architecture of happiness, London: Hamish Hamilton.

CABE, 2010. Ordinary Places, Available at:

CABE, 2007. Paved with gold: The real value of good street design, Available at:

CABE, 2006. The Value Handbook: Getting the most from your buildings and spaces, Available at:,36,643.

CABE, 2005b. What Homebuyers Want, Available at:

CABE, 2005c. What its like to live there: the view of residents on the design of new housing, Available at:

Caplow, T. & Forman, R., 1950. Neighbourhood interaction in a homogenous community. American Sociology Review, 15, pp.357–66.

Carmona, M., 2001. Bibliography of Design Value, CABE. Available at: [Accessed January 24, 2014].

Cheshire, L. & Wickes, R., 2012. Crime Talk in the Suburbs: Symbolic Representations of Status and Security on a Master Planned Estate. Housing Studies, 27(8), pp.1162–1181.

Clark, J. & Kearns, A., 2012. Housing Improvements, Perceived Housing Quality and Psychosocial Benefits From the Home. Housing Studies, 27(7), pp.915–939.

Cooper-Marcuse, C. & Sarkissian, W., 1986. Housing as if people mattered, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Festinger, L., Schacter, S. & Back, K., 1950. Social Pressures in Informal Groups: a Study of Human Factors in Housing, New York: harper Brothers.

Fleury-Bahi, G., Félonneau, M.-L. & Marchand, D., 2008. Processes of Place Identification and Residential Satisfaction. Environment and Behavior, 40(5), pp.669–682.

Forrest, R., Kennett, T. & Leather, P., 1997. Home Owners on New Estates in the 1990s, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Available at: [Accessed February 17, 2014].

Gehl, J. & Svarre, B., 2013. How to Study Public Life, London: Island Press.

Gibson, L., 2008. In defence of instrumentality. Cultural Trends, 17(4), pp.247–257.

Greenblatt, M., Becerra, R.M. & Serafetinides, E.A., 1982. Social networks and mental health: on overview. The American journal of psychiatry, 139(8), pp.977–984.

Hall, P., 2013. Good Cities, Better Lives: How Europe Discovered the Lost Art of Urbanism, London: Routledge.

Halpern, D., 1995a. Mental health and the built environment: more than bricks and mortar?, London; Bristol, PA: Taylor & Francis.

Halpern, D., 1995b. Mental health and the built environment: more than bricks and mortar?, London; Bristol, PA: Taylor & Francis.

Hampshire, K.R. & Matthijsse, M., 2010. Can arts projects improve young people’s social wellbeing? A social capital approach. Social Science and Medicine, 71(4), pp.708–716.

Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, 2013. Creative Citizen, RCA. Available at: methodology/.

Hillsdon, M., Jones, A. & Coombes, E., 2011. Green Space Access, green space use, physical activity and overweight (NECR067), Natural England. Available at:

Hughes, F., 1996. The Architect: Reconstructing her Practice, Cambridge, Mass: MIT.

Ipsos Mori & CABE, 2010. People and Place: Public Attitudes to Beauty. Available at:

Jenkins, P. & Forsyth, L., 2010. Architecture, participation and society, London; New York: Routledge.

Joseph, M. & Chaskin, R., 2010. Living in a Mixed-Income Development: Resident Perceptions of the Benefits and Disadvantages of Two Developments in Chicago. Urban Studies, 47(11), pp.2347–2366.

Kaplan, R., 1985. Nature at the Doorstep: Residential Satisfaction and the nearby environment. Journal of Architecture and Planning Research, 2, pp.115–127.

Kaszynska, P. & Parkinson, J., 2012. Rethinking Neighbourhood Planning, RIBA and Respublica. Available at:

Klingmann, A., 2010. Brandscapes: Architecture in the Experience Economy, Cambridge, Mass.; London: The MIT Press.

Levine, R.K., Miyake, K. & Lee, M., 1989. Places rated revisited: psycho-social pathology in metropolitan areas. Environment and Behaviour, 21(5), pp.531–53.

MacPherson, H., Hart, A. & Heaver, B., 2012. Building Resilience through Collaborative Community Arts Practice, AHRC. Available at:

NEF, 2012. Good Foundations: towards a low carbon, high well-being built environment.

Nowotny, H., Scott, P. & Gibbons, M., 2001. Rethinking Science: Knowledge and the Public in an Age of Uncertainty, London: Wiley.

Owen, C. & Dovey, K., 2008. Fields of sustainable architecture. The Journal of Architecture, 13(1), pp.9–21.

Punter, J., 2011. Urban Design and the English Urban Renaissance 1999-2009: A Review and Preliminary Evaluation. Journal of urban Design, 16(1), pp.1–41.

Rapoport, A., 1982. The meaning of the built environment, Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Rosenblatt, T., Cheshire, L. & Lawrence, G., 2009. Social Interaction and Sense of Community in a Master Planned Community. Housing, Theory and Society, 26(2), pp.122–142.

Rudofsky, B., 1987. Architecture Without Architects: A Short Introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture Reprint edition., Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Samuel, F. et al., 2013. RIBA Home Improvements: Report on Research in Housing Practice, RIBA. Available at:

Saunders, W.S., 2007. Judging Architectural Value, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Schaer, C., 2010. Hamburg’s New Quarter: But What About the Birds? Spiegel Online. Available at: [Accessed October 7, 2013].

Scottish Executive, M., 2006. A Literature Review of the Social, Economic and Environmental Impact of Design, Scottish Executive. Available at:

Scottish Government, S.A.H., 2006. Health in Scotland 2006: Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer, Available at: [Accessed April 29, 2014].

Shehayeb, D., 2007. Neighbourhood Design and Community Building. Available at: [Accessed February 13, 2014].

Tether, B., 2014. Top 100. Architect’s Journal Top 100, 19(239), pp.148–159.

Till, J., 2004. What is architectural research, London: RIBA. Available at:

UKGov, 2013. National Travel Survey statistics - GOV.UK. Available at: [Accessed April 29, 2014].

Unger, D.G. & Wandersman, A., 1985. The importance of neighbors: The social, cognitive, and affective components of neighboring. American Journal of Community Psychology, 13(2), pp.139–169.

URBED, 2000. Living Places - Urban Renaissance in the SE, URBED and UCL. Available at: [Accessed February 19, 2014].

Warwick, E., Sakai (ed.), A. & Koide (ed), K., 2014. CABE’s approach to research”. In CABE and the processes of Design Evaluation in Architecture and the Built Environment. Tokyo: Kajima.

Wheway, R. & Millward, A., 1997. Child’s Play: Facilitating Play on Housing estates, Available at:

Wiesel, I., 2012. Can Ageing Improve Neighbourhoods? Revisiting Neighbourhood Life-Cycle Theory. Housing, Theory and Society, 29(2), pp.145–156.

Willmott, Peter, 1963. The Evolution of a Community - A Study of Dagenham after Forty Years 1st Edition edition., Routledge Kegan Paul.

Yaneva, A., 2012. Mapping Controversies in Architecture, Burlington: Ashgate.


Full Text: PDF