Qualitative Architecture. A multidisciplinary approach to the provision of social housing. Case study Cuenca – Ecuador

  • Marco Avila
  • Mauricio Orellana
  • Jorge Toledo
  • María de los Ángeles Tello
  • Federico Córdova
Keywords: Qualitative research, constant comparative, social housing, architecture.


The cost of social housing is very high in Ecuador and in some Latin American countries, so the social class with low economic resources cannot access these housing programs, which is why self-construction has become the only alternative viable to obtain housing for this stratum of socioeconomic level. In the present investigation of qualitative and multidisciplinary approach, the social and habitability conditions presented by the population of low economic resources categorized in the social stratum C- in the city of Cuenca, to establish the spatial and constructive requirements are analyzed.

The problem is approached from the qualitative approach using the method of constant comparative analysis and the techniques of mapping, flaneur, discriminative sampling, depth interview and participant observation. To encode the information collected, ATLAS.TI software is used, guided by the habitability, social housing, human being and quality of life categories defined in the complex analysis system, proposed by researcher Rodas Beltrán Ana Patricia. In the process 11 sectors of the city where there has been a greater growth in terms of human settlement in the last decade are defined, in these sectors 50 observations were made applying the method and techniques mentioned.

After applying the method of constant comparative analysis and examining the results, it is concluded that, unlike other cities in the country and the world, there is no defined sectorization in the city of Cuenca where social housing settlements are located, on the contrary, the Social cohesion is very visible in the urban and rural areas. The predominant socio-spatial patterns detected allowed to define that the family component is 3 to 5 people, the most important spaces are the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, family members are interested in comfort in interior spaces rather than exteriors, the perception of quality is based on having basic services and comfortable spaces, access to housing is for the kitchen that joins the social area and the bedrooms, the bathroom is mostly outside the house as well as the laundry, the family meets at night, the mother and father work and the children study. In the predominant building patterns, we have the floors are made of wood and earth, the walls are made of wood, plastic block and recycled metals, the roof is mostly zinc, the structural system is made of wooden girders and adobe walls, there are many cases of houses that have been inherited from bahareque that are in precarious housing, the land where the construction is located is owned by users by inheritance or donation, there is no invasion. The information obtained through qualitative research applying this methodology, allows to have a clear picture of the living conditions to propose housing solutions of social interest according to the realization of this society.