Slow housing – competitive edge for innovative living environments
A new concept for housing foresight is introduced as a hypothesis in analogy to slow food, and as a contrast to hectic urban life. The idea of slow housing is proposed for discussion on the basis of preliminary results from a project carried out at VTT in 2004–2006 studying experimental and innovative models of housing, working/production and transport. The aim of this Eco-Regions project was to identify best practices in eco-efficient development of regions, linked with socio-culturally sustainable patterns of living.
The theoretical framework was deduced from the urban and regional theory of Patrick Geddes (1854–1932). This Scottish urbanist and biologist developed various interesting concepts, which have proved to be useful for modern urban studies as well. In the present paper we utilise the concept of analytical triad – place, work and folk, corresponding to the geographical, historical and spiritual aspects of the city or the region – to explore innovative housing and living environments.
Traditionally it is considered that innovations take place in cities, where the speed life and concentration of people create the necessary ‘buzz’ for the innovations to come up. But the hectic urban life is found alienating by more and more people and an emergence of slow and long-term-orientated lifestyle can be noticed in many Western countries. The interest in Slow movement (Slow Food, Slow Cities and Slow Design) is a clear sign of that.
In this study we discuss the concept of slow housing as one element contributing to pleasant living environments and with a specific connection to innovation creation. We argue that a slow, i.e. balanced, way of life increases well-being, which has a positive impact on creativity and thus on overall productivity.
Meaningful life is a fertile ground for innovations.