Motivations and market solutions for flexible housing in Finland

Rita Lavikka (Corresponding Author), Satu Paiho

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Flexibility is essential for sustainable housing and has been one of the design elements in Finnish architecture. However, between 1990 and 2010, flexible solutions in residential buildings were rare and included in only some advanced builders’ projects. Research on flexible housing exists but is scarce on knowledge of the 2020s drivers and market solutions for flexible housing. Therefore, we searched for trends, patents and market solutions for flexible housing in Finland. We also interviewed representatives of construction companies, designers, housing providers, financers and regulatory authorities to understand their views on flexibility; its meaning, benefits, challenges, market demand and technical solutions providing flexibility. We discovered several trends leading to flexibility in housing, e.g., urbanization and remote working, although no evidence of flexibility as a separate housing trend was found. We sought market examples for each trend to prove the markets’ potential interest in them. We found that the market need for flexible apartment buildings is currently low, even though the benefits of flexibility exist. However, market demand may increase if awareness of flexible options increases. No insurmountable technical challenges for housing flexibility exist, although the building services flexibility is complex. Flexible housing design, construction and solutions tend to cost more than a regular home. Flexibility in apartment buildings means multifunctionality inside a dwelling, using movable partitions and furniture or the ability to unite or separate two dwellings structurally. Modular construction is used to build these apartment buildings, supporting sustainability. Transferable and multifunctional wooden houses represent flexibility in small houses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1789-1818
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Issue number3
Early online date20 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Flexibility
  • Housing
  • Modularity
  • Multifunctionality
  • Sustainability


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