Common Area Allocation, Patterns and Design in Permanent Supportive Housing
As a response to the growing homelessness crisis in North America, many non-profit housing providers are directing their architects to design housing projects that provide extensive support service spaces on site to support the transition from homelessness for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. This paper reports on a study of the common spaces of Permanent Supportive Housing projects, which provide chronically homeless individuals with affordable housing, as well as emotional, mental, and physical health resources on-site. The purpose of the paper is to establish the stylized facts of common area allocation in Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). The data for this research are the common area floor plans for twelve PSH projects. These spaces are analyzed, and typical entry sequences are compared with the intent of understanding the approach to security. The relationships between fundamental rooms are delineated through Space Syntax Analysis. The results from the study reveal high visibility between entry lobbies, offices, and threshold spaces though the space syntax indicated a significant amount of depth between the spaces, indicating difficulty of movement between them. The presence of a vestibule correlated with a greater depth of spaces but also greater visibility for staff and residents. Ultimately, the research serves the health and well-being of the residents and staff of future projects through an evidence-based approach to designing supportive service and resident common spaces. Future research will build on this analysis to investigate the empirical well-being outcomes influenced by design.