Society and Norms: Housing - Traditional and Modern

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In rural areas houses are usually mud huts containing up to three generations of a family. Houses may also be brick or stone and contain separate quarters for men and women. Generally, there will be a single central family room with different nuclear family groups inhabiting separate rooms located off the central room. The kitchen contains an underground oven for baking bread and is used as a heat source during cold weather. Shoes are not worn in the home and good housekeeping is imperative and integral to hospitality.

In Pakistan, architecture is influenced by Middle Eastern compound housing, Tibetan villages, Indian housing, and various styles from past invaders. For example, the ancient Mughal Empire provided a strong influence of red sandstone, inlaid jewels, and white marble. However, compound housing is much more common. This style normally has one entrance, although a back entrance may exist for women to enter and exit through back alleys away from main roads. Compound housing usually has a greeting room just inside the door with a large visiting area nearby utilized by the males and their guests. Females typically meet in the women's quarters away from the male. In northern mountainous areas (e.g. Baltistan), villages are typically Tibetan style, multiple story mud or stone houses tightly packed together with small passageways between homes [19].

In urban areas, most people live in mud homes or squatter settlements made of whatever material is available. Electricity and plumbing are rare luxuries usually available only in brick houses or apartment buildings. Apartments and houses in urban areas are not conducive to the extended family model and have led to an increase in nuclear family living. Houses in both rural and urban areas may have high walls and a courtyard to enhance family privacy.

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