Housing Situation of Women in the Swiss German Part

Housing and life biography of women of three generations

Seventy percent of the Swiss live in rental housing; the highest percentage of any industrialized country. While women spend more time at home and still do the lion share of housework, their views on what constitutes a high quality living environment are not usually considered in the design and construction of housing. This research describes the experiences and perspectives of women on this topic. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 32 women at three different life stages in four types of locations (city; suburban community, small town, rural community) in German-speaking Switzerland. Linking the biographical accounts of their personal history with their "housing biography", the dynamic connections between different life spheres such as paid and unpaid work, family roles, leisure activities, etc. and the particular qualities of their living environment (living space, neighborhood, community) are explored. The focus is on identifying the salient spatial, architectural, esthetic, social, economic and legal aspects of the housing situation of these women in relation to the varying needs depending on life stage, household composition and individual life style and preferences. Conclusions and recommendations are directed at architects, housing owners and administrators, planners and policy makers.