Courtyard Housing for Health and Happiness: Architectural Multiculturalism in North America, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Courtyard Housing for Health and Happiness

Architectural Multiculturalism in North America, 1st Edition

By Donia Zhang


200 pages

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Paperback: 9781138567757
pub: 2017-10-12
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pub: 2015-04-28
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Health and happiness are fundamental to human quality of life. The United Nations World Happiness Report 2012 reflects a new worldwide call for governments to include happiness as a criterion to their policies. The Healthy Cities or Happy Cities movement has been endorsed by the WHO since 1986, and a Healthy House or Happy Home is a critical constituent of a healthy city or a happy city. Nevertheless, the concept has not been fully explored. Existing literature on the healthy house has often focused on the technical, economic, environmental, or biochemical aspects, while current scholarship on the happy home commonly centers on interior decoration. Few studies have addressed the importance of social and cultural factors that affect the health and happiness of the occupants. Identifying four key themes in Chinese philosophy to promote health and happiness at home, this book links architecture with Chinese philosophy, social sciences, and the humanities, and in doing so, argues that Architectural Multiculturalism is a vital ideology to guide housing design in North America. Using both qualitative and quantitative evidence gathered from ethnic Chinese and non-Chinese living in the USA and Canada, the study proposes that the Courtyard is a central component to promote social and cultural health and happiness of residents. It further details courtyard garden house design strategies that combine a sense of privacy with a feeling of community as represented in courtyard housing. The schemes may have universal implications.


"This is a unique book that traverses a wide range of topics including philosophy, oriental wisdom, psychology, and modern housing design. It aims to answer a central question - how to design a healthy house and a happy home - so practical and yet so eternally important for us all. The study proposes courtyard garden houses as a paradigmatic model. It promotes multiculturalism in architecture and in social life as a whole, which is so central to a new global sensitivity on the rise in North America and elsewhere. In a word, this book has masterfully integrated a range of topics from philosophy to building design, addressed a profound yet practical issue of housing for a healthy and happy life, and promoted cross-cultural thinking so central to a new sensitivity on the rise in the twenty-first century. It is a great book that addresses issues practical yet central to life for everyone - a book everyone should read - for reorganizing your interior, building a new home, debating for a neighbourhood, or simply pursuing harmony in your personal and social life." - Jianfei Zhu, University of Melbourne, Australia

"After a sociable childhood in a Beijing courtyard, Donia Zhang's international studies have led to this insightful publication. Contemporary urbanism separates, rather than joining us together; Zhang shows that courtyards informed by Feng Shui and other timeless guides, can result in sociable, fulfilling, living environments for communities across North America." - Richard Hayward, Emeritus Professor of University of Greenwich, UK

"With this new book, Dr Donia Zhang goes well beyond her earlier studies of courtyard housing in China by first reviewing 20th century courtyard housing developments in North America. Then, at a time of increasing multi-culturalism, she looks forward and confidently predicts that courtyard designs will emerge strong worldwide in the 21st century. Her subject matter ranges widely in promoting a housing form that is both healthy as a structure and happy as a home. This is a book that will be welcomed by architects, planners, and even those contemplating owning a home." - Ronald G. Knapp, State University of New York, New Paltz, USA

"As the book focuses on courtyard houses in the USA and Canada—both countries that are built on the principle of diversity and immigration from different countries—she also elaborates on guidelines and policies for ethnic heritage preservation and the architecture of multiculturalism. Zhang successfully bridges the cultural divide between the ancient-old traditional Chinese way of dwelling with North American forms of living. Her book offers adequate solutions to forms of cohabitation amongst people that foster a stronger sense of physical and social benefits." -Ulduz Maschaykh, McMaster University, Canada

Table of Contents

Foreword, Richard Harris; Preface; Introduction: health and happiness in housing; Four key themes in Chinese philosophy to promote health and happiness at home; Health as balancing Yin Yang: form and environmental quality of the housing; Health as gathering qi: space and construction quality of the housing; Happiness as attaining oneness: matters of social cohesion in the homes; Happiness as knowing the Dao: time and cultural activities in the homes; Four keystones of courtyard housing design; Conclusion: courtyard housing for health and happiness; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Dr Donia Zhang is a graduate of Oxford Brookes University (BArch, MA, PhD) in the UK and Brock University (MEd) in Canada.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning