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Housing for Homeless People in Norway: The Use of UD Principles


The Norwegian government aims to use UD principles as the basis for functional quality in the planning of buildings, housing and public open space. This implies that everyone, regardless of functional abilities, should be given equal opportunities in society. Well functioning dwellings are essential to reach the political aims of participation and equality. This concerns dwellings for homeless people as much as anyone else.UD is about reducing the gap between demands posed by the environment and the individuals’ physical, mental or social capacities (Lawton’s gap model). The first of these is presently one of the chief aims of Norwegian housing policy. The gap between the mental and social capacities and the demands of the environment is less in focus. However, the mental and social capacities are precisely what should be given particular consideration when designing dwellings for drug addicts, homeless people and other socially disadvantaged groups.The paper is part of an exploratory study to prepare for future research. It questions whether the program run by the Norwegian State House Bank to reduce homelessness through “Project Homeless” and “Homeless Architecture” manages to produce dwellings which satisfy the requirements of equality and normality. The solutions should not be special or stigmatize the occupants. The paper points out the necessity for improved knowledge about the role of built environment in the success of integration projects. It may include the need of improved knowledge about organization of the planning process and about UD in itself and in relation to housing for special groups as well.


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper





  • SINTEF Community / Architectural Engineering




International Association for Universal Design; Manzoh Yoshihama


The 2nd International Conference for Universal Design in Kyoto 2006. Proceedings



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