Definitions for Public, Private and In-between Spaces in Student Housing

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Sajid I Awal


          In any housing design, finding the right balance between public and private spaces is one of the most difficult issues. In terms of student housing, many scholars argue that public and private spaces are equally important for promoting interaction among the students as well as ensuring sufficient privacy in shared dwellings. This research aims to establish definitions for public, private, and in-between spaces in student housing, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Firstly, a literature review is conducted and qualitatively analyzed from the urban and socio-cultural perspectives to derive the initial definitions. Four selected student housing cases, both local and international, are then analyzed according to the initial definitions. Analysis of these cases provides evidence that the initial definitions of public, private, and in-between spaces can be modified in this building type.
          The results of this research indicate that in student housing, the definitions of public, private, and in-between spaces not only conform to those derived from the literature review but also have their own particularities. Common, privatized public, ambiguous, and adaptable spaces as in-between spaces are found to exist both in the designated space as well as in any other spaces of student housing. On the other hand, whether a space is public or private can be identified based on four identical factors: accessibility, inclusiveness, visibility, and use. Variations in the size and use of such spaces are also found to influence the nature of the different space types.

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