Candide No. 7 — 10/2013 — Essay
People and Buildings:
Pearl Jephcott and the Science of Life in High Flats
In this essay, Ignaz Strebel and Jane M. Jacobs investigate the attempt to deliver a scientific description of life in mass housing in Great Britain during the postwar period, particularly in its flagship, the residential high-rise block. They focus on Pearl Jephcott’s study of Glasgow’s high-rise housing, published as Homes in High Flats: Some of the Human Problems Involved in Multi-Storey Housing (1971). Largely ignored both then and now, Jephcott’s research is helpful in highlighting the difficulties of using standardized quantitative methods to examine the relationship between architecture and the behavior of its inhabitants. At the same time, the innovative ad hoc methodology developed by Jephcott and her team, to give equal weight to residents’ statements and to descriptions of their environment, provides elements of an alternative to the paradigm of market-oriented satisfaction surveys, which have dominated housing research in the social sciences up to the present.
Candide No. 7, 10/2013