Prof. H Martin Edge






Abbott, L, Edge, H.M. and Conniff, A. (2003)

Housing Modification and Implications for Future Housing Provision: a Socio-Psychological Investigation

in ENHR/IAPS Conference “Methodologies in Housing Research" Stockholm, Sweden 22-24 September 2003


Throughout history, people have sought to alter their homes to suit their own personal needs. Most people change their living environment in some way, for a number of reasons. Some of the motivations behind such behaviour are well understood, particularly those relating to money and investments. For example, people upgrade a property to improve the resale value. But there are other reasons for such behaviour. For example, a person in planning to carry out some home improvements may wish to increase the property’s value, but at the same time may claim their motivation is to make their home more “stylish”. The way in which this is carried out will depend on the individual’s understanding of the concept of “stylish”. Although this is likely to differ somewhat between people, there are likely to be social norms (within particular social groups) which to some extent define the term. Also, the reasoning behind the desire for a “stylish” home may appear straightforward, but it is probable that most people, including the individual in question, would have difficulties in verbalising such reasons. So it can be seen already that the process of changing one’s living environment is more complex than is first thought. This suggests that a deeper understanding of “home improvements” is possible. For the purposes of this paper, the term “housing modification” will be employed to describe any behaviour which in some way involves an intentional change to the home environment, be it to the decor, size, layout or functional aspects. The postgraduate research reported on here aims to determine the extent to which a number of socio-psychological processes are related to housing modification. This paper will first discuss the research in terms of relevant past theoretical and research contributions, and present the rationale for the research. The methodological approach will then be considered, including a discussion of challenges presented by the proposed methods.


Click here for the pdf of the full paper on the conference website