Exploring space: researching the use of domestic space for income generation in developing cities.


Increasing numbers of households in developing world cities are using their domestic space as a key resource to generate income in a variety of home-based enterprises (HBEs) as part of household survival strategies. As part of an international comparative research project examining the environmental

impacts of home-based enterprises we carried out intensive fieldwork in informal settlements in four cities (Cochabamba, Delhi, Pretoria, Surabaya).

On the one hand, we calculated the effects of HBE space on the dwelling from a sample in each settlement of 150 HBE operators and 75 non-HBE operators using quantitative techniques. These included measurement of the amount of housing space available and how much was used for the HBE, both exclusively and shared with domestic activities. In addition, for a sub-sample of 20 in each place, we produced detailed plans and diagrams to record dwelling layouts and plotted how the spaces of the home were used, indicating where particular activities took place and, where possible, how these changed at different times of the day. To complement the graphic

data we carried out long structured interviews with householders to gain greater understanding about how space was used and how decisions were made regarding the location of activities, and the spatial implications of juxtaposing or combining potentially incompatible activities. More importantly, such data allowed us to gain insights into the range of conceptualisations regarding how boundaries are established and negotiated, and to identify the strategies employed to accommodate competing activities and resolve conflicts.

This paper will explain and reflect on the effectiveness of the combination of

quantitative, graphic, photographic data, and structured interviews used and the analytical techniques employed in attempting to understand the complex issues of space usage in constrained domestic and working circumstances.


ENHR, IAPS and KTH International Conference: ENHR, IAPS and KTH International Conference, Stockholm, September 2003. pp. 12

Exploring space: researching the use of domestic space for income generation in developing cities.

Published 1 January 2003