Spatial and Social Adaptations: A Post-occupancy Evaluation of Multi-storey Social Housing in Dhaka1

  • Dr. Shayer Ghafur Professor, Department of Architecture Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka – 1000
Keywords: adaptation, post-occupancy evaluation, social housing, low-income households, Dhaka


This paper investigates how low-income households adapt spatially and socially in multi-storey (walk-up sixstoried) social housing in Dhaka, by looking at the allocation, organization and use of spaces, and household members’ extent and ways of socialization. Evidence is presented from a broader research on socio-spatial adaptation for living and livelihood in multi-storey social housing in Dhaka. Post-occupancy evaluation, through structured questionnaire, informal interview and observation, helps understand the building performance in responding to the needs of the low-income dwellers. Low-income households’ access to the surveyed two housing projects at the old and new Dhaka implies a change in the location and mode of dwelling, from single to multi-storey housing, requiring households’ spatial and social adaptations. The findings indicate that households generally adapt ‘actively’ to the dwelling environment to suit their spatial and social needs. This paper concludes by calling a fit between physical and social environment in designing and maintaining functional contexts for the low-income households in Dhaka where human activities and interactions can be appropriately accommodated and developed.