Science Target Conference Systems, Ajman 4th International Environment Conference 2016

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From old desert vernacular cities to sustainable cities
Samah M. Elkhateeb

Last modified: 2015-12-22


Energy crisis nowadays in many parts of the globe makes many governments apply the concept of smart cities in their plans. In the arid climate, the consumption of energy is very high due to the high temperature and the lack of the water resources as well. In the past; most of the desert cities and villages in the arid climate, especially in Arab cities depended on vernacular architecture and passive techniques to reduce the indoor temperature.

Vernacular architecture knows as; the Architecture that overall reflects the local traditions according to needs of its inhabitants depend on the local materials, Motives and arts.

The term “vernacular” has different meanings and implications depending on the context of its use. This term has been used by architects, historians, archeologists, folklorists and others. The word derives from the Latin vernacular, which means "native." Given that architecture is defined as the science of building, we can simply say that the definition of vernacular architecture is the "native science of building."

This paper will highlight three examples of cities in an arid climate, one of them is an old desert vernacular city in Egypt, the second is a new desert smart city in Egypt which is Karm Solar sustainable city, and the third is an example in Saudi Arabia, which is Al Bayda village.

The aim of these paper is to highlight the paradigm shift in the concept of the desert cities from vernacular towards a sustainable desert city.