Bottle House: Utilising Appreciative Inquiry to develop a user Acceptance model

Arinola Adefila, Amal Abuzeinab, Timothy Whitehead, Muyiwa Oyinlola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper develops a novel user-acceptance model for circular solutions to housing design. The model has been systematically developed from a case study of an upcycled plastic bottle building in a low-income community in Nigeria. It is common practice to use participatory approaches to consult end users in communities, typically after design concepts have been proposed and conceptualised. However, this often leads to critical socio-cultural or usability elements being overlooked and the design being substandard. Therefore, this paper develops a robust model for designers, specialists and activists involved in construction that can be used during all phases of a project. This approach demonstrates that user needs should be considered before building designs and plans are generated, providing a greater frame of reference for practitioners, consultants and end users. Enabling the integration of holistic needs of the community and the development of circular design solution. Design/methodology/approach: A case study methodology has been employed to develop this model, uses appreciative inquiry methodology. This includes multiple methods to capture end users’ perception: focus groups, interactions with the local community and self-recorded comments. This case study is part of a broader research project to develop replicable low-cost self-sufficient homes utilising local capacity using upcycled, locally available materials. Findings: The findings identify the challenges associated with designing circular solution housing without a robust understanding of interrelated factors, which ensure sustainability and user acceptance. The conclusions demonstrate why essential socio-cultural factors, usually unrelated to technical development, should be understood and contextualised when designing sustainable solutions in low/middle-income communities. The authors argue that without this holistic approach, undesirable consequences may arise, often leading to more significant challenges. Instead of referring to multiple frameworks, this distinctive model can be used to evaluate user acceptance for low-cost housing in particular and other dimensions of circular solution design that involve end-user acceptance. The model blends circular solution dimensions with user-acceptance concerns offering a guide that considers essential features that are both user-friendly and pragmatic, such as utility, technological innovation and functionality as well as their intersectionality. Research limitations/implications: The research relied on a single case study, which focussed on end-user engagement of upcycling waste materials as an application of circular solutions. The model will contribute to developing socially accepted circular solutions taking into consideration local context factors. Originality/value: The paper is proposing a model for user acceptance of circular construction materials relevant to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-583
Number of pages17
JournalBuilt Environment Project and Asset Management
Issue number4
Early online date26 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 Emerald Publishing. This AAM is deposited under the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence. Any reuse is allowed in accordance with the terms outlined by the licence. To reuse the AAM for commercial purposes, permission should be sought by contacting [email protected].


  • Bottle house
  • Case study
  • Circular solutions
  • Upcycled materials
  • User acceptance


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