Al-Zubaidi, Maha Sabah Salman (2007) The sustainability potential of traditional architecture in the Arab world - with reference to domestic buildings in the UAE. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

During the last two or three decades, when so much publicity was given to our doubtful future on this planet, thinking of nature and concern about environment became an important issue all over the world. Rapid developments in different fields: industry, transportation, communication, and construction, caused radical environmental changes. This affected atmosphere components and the vegetation cover, which may change the balance of environment causing natural resources depletion. Architecture plays an important role in this earth environmental crisis due to the great amount of consumed resources and waste and emissions released.
Sustainable development, based on the definition of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), is to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (WCED, 1987, P.9). This definition refers to the significance of changing the way we live and build to respect environment through efficient use of natural and renewable resources without damaging the nature or affecting the environment.
In the past, when the building envelope was the main element man used to protect himself from a harsh climate, he had to depend on passive energy and natural resources, such as sun, wind and earth. Passive energy involves the use of natural energy sources for environmental, healthy, and economical reasons in our buildings. Traditional architecture, in the Arab world, represents a living witness for the suitability of this architecture to the local environment, which incorporated the essence of sustainable architecture.
This research is concerned on identifying the sustainability potential inherent within one type of traditional architecture: the house, where the family spends most of its time for living and doing private activities. The house was the oasis of the family in the middle of the hot desert climate that characterizes most of the Arab world region. The accommodation of the house with the ambient environment was achieved using natural resources in sustainable approaches. There was an efficient interaction between architecture and natural resources as sun, wind, high seasonal & daily temperature fluctuation, site topography, available building materials and cultural values.

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