The urban courtyard housing form as a response to human needs, culture and evnironment

Yu, Nancy
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University of Guelph

Courtyard housing is an important dwelling type in human history; it exists widely in various cultures and climatic zones. Understanding what factors influence the courtyard housing form is of importance to creating better living environments. This study explores the urban courtyard housing form as a response to basic human needs, culture and environment. Based on a review of the historical origins of urban courtyard housing, four traditional and contemporary types were selected for analysis. Drawings and a framework that included territorial, social-psychological, cultural and environmental factors were used to understand and compare the selected examples. Through time and across cultures, territorial and environmental factors were found to be highly relevant to all courtyard housing forms. Gender, as an indicator of culture, has played an important role in those courtyard forms influenced by religion and tradition. Knowledge gained from this study can benefit architects and landscape architects undertaking contemporary design.

courtyard housing, dwelling type, human needs, culture, environment