The move to inner city apartments : a study of changing residential patterns in Christchurch. (1998)
AuthorsBarrow, Annetteshow all
The focus of this study is a group of New Zealand homeowners whose choice of home is in stark contrast to the suburban stand-alone privately owned house that historically has become entrenched as the ideal image of home in this country. The move to an inner city apartment has resulted in residents becoming involved in a complex set of interrelated physical, social and legal relationships. These represent a shift away from the powerful cultural norm of household autonomy signified by the traditional housing form. To understand this changing residential pattern the notion of the inner city apartment as a locale where people can work at attaining a sense of ontological security is explored. This has involved building on the work of Dupuis and Thorns who have developed the ideas of Giddens and Saunders on ontological security. In this study the concept of ontological security is explored through a set of empirical data drawn from interviews with inner city apartment owners. The extent to which an inner city apartment meets the conditions for the maintenance of ontological security is assessed through an exploration of this new residential type as the site of constancy, routine, control and identity. By noting how the meanings of home have changed for this group of New Zealanders the idea that the meanings of home reflects the society around it is developed. This focus emphasises how meanings of home are context specific. Previous research noted how data needs to be seen in relation to New Zealanders' long standing pre-occupation with land and home ownership. What is central to this thesis is the notion that the move to inner city apartments reflects the need to extend this analysis of context to more fully incorporate a consideration of the physical characteristics of the residence, and the social constructs of family and gender roles and the place of home in these. This reveals the extent to which political and economic factors have shaped our residential patterns and how this construction has been associated with an undercurrent of a moral social order, based on an assumption of patriarchal gender relations. How these matters are now played out in an environment influenced by the constraints of an interpretation of environmental sustainability, an effects based planning regime created by the Resource Management Act (1991), and the economic growth strategies of the 'free market', provides the substantive material for this study. These matters relate to how our residential forms constrain and / or empower us.