Browsing by Author "Akkila, Ilona"

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  • Akkila, Ilona (2012)
    The thesis examines families living in the neighborhood of Kallio in Helsinki. The research focus is on housing as a choice. The idea to investigate this group rose from the media-hyped phenomenon of Kallio becoming more popular among families with children. It attracted the researcher´s interest since until now Kallio had been primarily pictured as the notorious, former worker´s and bohemian´s neighborhood. The primary research questions are: Why do some families reside in Kallio? Is it a choice and how is this choice made? The additional questions are: What characterizes these families and how do they identify themselves with Kallio as a neighborhood? The primary material consists of interviews with local parents. The material consists of ten 1-1,5 h semi-structured interviews and six "ad hoc" interviews (duration 10-20 min.) Ad hoc-interviews were conducted in communal three parks: in Linjan puisto, Kirkkopuisto and Brahen puisto.The study area is limited to include the sub-districts of Linjat, Torkkelinmäki and Harju. General observation and taking photographs were conducted on this area. Different social scientists, such as Anthony Giddens, characterize the contemporary society as dispersed and fragmented in terms of lifestyles and institutions. Socio-cultural differentiation is a central phenomenon of the postmodern society. Lifestyle choice has become central to the constitution of self-identity. People choose different lifestyles; some families choose an urban lifestyle. Housing research in Finland has largely focused on the housing wishes, “stated preferences”. Housing choices have mainly been explained from a microeconomic or environmental angle, often aiming at high level of generalization. The context where choices are made often receives less emphasis. The actual choices, “revealed preferences”, have been studied less. In this thesis I argue that choices are composed of wishes, needs and constraints. Interviews and qualitative analysis methods are suitable for this research which aims to look at the qualitative changes in housing choice. The research confirmed that the thematic interview method is a useful way to clarify housing choice as a process. Results are presented by themes: 1) social class, 2) housing situation and background, 3) conceptions of places, 4) housing wishes, 5) self-identity, 6) choice, and 7) urban lifestyle. The results indicate that the families had clearly made a lifestyle choice to live in Kallio. Urban environment was a central wish. The constraints families face were often economic, and the needs were associated with the daily routines, such as connections to public transportation, hobbies, kindergartens, schools and jobs. Families often divided their housing wishes to two groups: dreams and realistic possibilities. Both of these were often located in an urban environment. The central choice for all the families seemed to be an urban lifestyle but their self-identities varied. For all of them urban lifestyle meant enjoying life and living in an exciting environment. Their self-identities were described with three different groups: life-style urbans, suburbans and gentrifiers. The life-style urbans identified themselves to Kallio as it is now, as a socially and culturally multifaceted area. The suburbans were not sure if they identify to Kallio, and they considered moving out. The gentrifiers identified to the aesthetic features of Kallio, and hoped that Kallio would become tidier. The context of choice provides more detailed and realistic information for urban planners and policy makers on how families want to live. Context of choice is important because it is based on the everyday context, and not on unreliable dreams. Literature and the background of this study support the viewpoint that the housing wishes (stated preferences) are completely different than the housing choice (revealed preferences).