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Home extensions in the United Kingdom: space, time, and practice

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date08/2007
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Number of pages14
Original languageEnglish


This paper begins with two observations: that UK homes appear to have accumulated increasing numbers of domestic technologies, yet new houses are smaller, on average, than those built before 1980. The spatial pressures placed on homes that result from the accumulation of technologies are explored by drawing upon forty household interviews which enquired into the domestic organisation of kitchen and bathroom technologies and practices. Many households have responded to such spatial pressures by extending or reformulating their domestic spaces: such that kitchens are becoming increasingly multifunctional spaces and bathrooms are multiplying. It is argued that these trends are not simply driven by an unstoppable tide of material possession but reflect context-specific arrangements related to the temporal and ideological structuring of domestic practices. Technologies and practices coevolve with the result that new demands are made on homes-the commodities and objects with which we live our lives influence our experience of space and the value placed on different physical configurations. Domestic technologies are therefore implicated in the structure and reproduction of practice and hence in the choreography of things and people in time and space.