The cross-cultural temporary resident population is one of the fastest growing cultural groups in the United States. However, their housing experiences in the new environment have not been extensively studied. Thus, the current study sought to examine meanings of dwelling attributes for cross-cultural temporary residents in the host country. In order to obtain insights into not only functional meanings but also underlying values, a conceptual framework was developed based primarily on Gutman’s (1982) means-end theory and Rapoport’s (1988) three levels of meaning. A case study was conducted using in-depth laddering interviews with ten Korean temporary residents in the Lansing, Michigan, area. Seven dwelling attributes emerged from interviews: two satisfactory attributes (i.e., surrounding natural environment and architecture) and five unsatisfactory attributes (i.e., carpeted floor, interior lighting, acoustics, bathroom, and entryway). Data were analyzed utilizing the measurement of means-end chain (Gutman, 1982), identifying the lower-level, everyday meanings as well as middle-level, latent meanings of dwelling attributes. A hierarchical value map was used to illustrate the interrelationships among the attributes, consequences, and values. Results revealed that dwelling attributes in participants’ current housing did not effectively satisfy their fundamental needs. In particular, carpeted floor was linked to the greatest number of negative meanings. Moreover, the cultural aspects of Korean housing affected the meanings of dwelling attributes in participants’ current homes. Findings suggest design professionals, facility managers, and policymakers must understand how people from other cultures attach different meanings to the dwelling attributes in their homes and provide more culturally responsive residential environments.
Lee, Eunsil and Park, Nam-Kyu. "The Meanings of Dwelling Attributes for Temporary Residents from Different Cultures: The Case of Korean Temporary Residents in the United States," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 4, issue 1 (2010).
Eunsil Lee and Nam-Kyu Park