Housing As If People Matter: Analyzing The Impact Of Interpersonal Interaction And Increased Familiarity On Housing-related Decision-making In The Old West End Neighborhood Of Danville, Virginia
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TitleHousing As If People Matter: Analyzing The Impact Of Interpersonal Interaction And Increased Familiarity On Housing-related Decision-making In The Old West End Neighborhood Of Danville, Virginia
AbstractABSTRACT JOSHUA DAVID HEARNE HOUSING AS IF PEOPLE MATTER: ANALYZING THE IMPACT OF INTERPERSONAL INTERACTION AND INCREASED FAMILIARITY ON HOUSING-RELATED DECISION-MAKING IN THE OLD WEST END NEIGHBORHOOD OF DANVILLE, VIRGINIA Under the direction of Rev. Melissa Browning, Ph.D., Supervisor This project explores the degree that a deeper level of familiarity between diverse persons has an impact on the way they think about housing-related priorities and factors. More specifically, this project analyzes how both insiders and outsiders to a particular neighborhood (the Old West End in Danville, Virginia) think about housing in the context of a particular neighborhood both before and after getting to know each other over the course of a series of meals. In establishing its context and ideological foundation, this project considers the history of housing policy in the United States in light of the work of E.F. Schumacher and John M. Perkins. By applying both Schumacher’s person-focused economic principles and Perkins’ philosophy of community development as a lens through which to consider housing-related decision-making, the project explores a philosophy of housing-related decision-making that is both person-focused and rooted in Jewish and Christian scripture and theology. This project uses two instruments to gather data both before and after a set of meals that included both free and guided conversation. The first instrument asks participants to rank a set of fourteen housing-related decision-making factors from most important to least important. The second instrument is an interview including questions designed to gather each participant’s latent and manifest values related to housing as well as what they perceive to be the assets and challenges of the neighborhood. Administering the same instruments both before and after the meals and conversations produced data about how priorities, values, perceived assets, and perceived challenges converged and diverged among participants from before to after the meals. The data demonstrates that interpersonal contact and increased familiarity have the effect of producing some convergence of opinion on matters discussed at some length during the meals as well as producing an overall increase in participant confidence as to the relative importance of some housing-related decision-making factors. Further study of the data as it relates to other demographic differences would likely be beneficial. Additionally, it would be valuable to consider how the data changes over a longer period of time and with greater degrees of interpersonal contact and increased familiarity.