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Alternative building materials and community development: Are building regulations limiting the potential for more affordable, efficient homes in Ontario?

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Title: Alternative building materials and community development: Are building regulations limiting the potential for more affordable, efficient homes in Ontario?
Author: Fegan, Nicholas P.
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Abstract: There are a number of issues being faced today as a global society. Most of these issues cross over numerous disciplines, which for most of history have been examined in silos as separate and unrelated systems (Brigg, 2007). These issues are the social, environmental, and economic issues of poverty, housing, energy, transportation, community, food security, environmental degradation and others. There is a growing understanding that issues of a social, environmental, and economic nature are, in fact, very interconnected to each of those realms and with other issues. The inspiration for this document is from the acknowledgment of this fact. Housing is just one example of an issue that transcends any singular disciplinary realm (Edward & Turrent, 2000). Housing fulfills at least one of our basic human needs of shelter, and arguably fulfills more as it is often the vessel for other needs such as food, water, and energy. However, as this paper will explore, many individuals do not have access to appropriate housing due to socioeconomic circumstances. Pertinent questions must be asked of our current housing development: Is the housing currently provided by the vast majority of western society environmentally and socially appropriate? If not, is it possible housing may contribute to issues of poverty or inadequate access to housing? The goal of this paper is to (1) highlight the benefits of alternative versus conventional materials, and (2) determine if alternative construction designs would be beneficial for community development and what processes would be undertaken to incorporate them into normative practice.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/16198
Date: 2015
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