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Architectural quality and rural development


Many rural communities in Norway are struggling to find good and attractive housing for new residents and this has implications for rural development (Kommunal- og regionaldepartementet, 2013). Stokkøya, Frøya and Hitra Islands are examples of communities, where economic development based on natural resources and aquaculture, is offering workplaces, but where the communities do not have enough attractive housing for employees that contributes to a stable residential population.
The main question which this paper will examine is to what extent do architectural qualities influence the choice to live in rural areas? It is suggested that the processes, architecture's role and the justifications for the choice of house in rural communities are different, because other factors are linked to the choosing of a rural life-style. However choosing housing in rural communities is not only based on need, it is also based on preference, and although there may be houses available, they may be perceived as un-interesting because they have the wrong location, wrong lay-out or size, do not fit the type of household, or are of poor quality.
Home as house and home as place, are some of the key perspectives on everyday life, of human security, welfare and identity (Brun & Setten, 2013). The architect Christian Norberg-Schulz, argued that a place should have meaning, a distinct character, and that the architect's duty is to create meaningful places where we can dwell (Norberg-Schulz, 1984). It is also suggested that a home is more than a functional place. A house is both a physical structure that offers protection to people and property, and it is a home that is established by social activity that takes place in and around the physical structure. We influence and are influenced by the houses we live in (Clapham, 2009). The choice of housing is linked increasingly to the choice of "lifestyle" and acquiring a home is often not seen as an end result in itself, but rather a means to achieve an end result (Clapham, 2005). In this research-project we want to examine the driving factors that are important for people who want to move to rural areas, and not the least; remain and contribute to the building of robust communities. The role that architecture may play will be investigated. By considering three cases in rural communities where architectural qualities have played a role in the development of new housing, insight will be gathered about the processes of housing development and the choosing of a home by new residents.
Keywords: architecture, rural development, housing, coastal communities, immigrant workforce


Academic lecture





  • SINTEF Community / Architecture, Materials and Structures

Presented at

3rd Nordic Conference for Rural Research




08.10.2014 - 10.10.2014


Centre for Rural Research



View this publication at Cristin