Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Vernacular neighbourhoods as models for socially-sustainable vertical cities: A computational approach

Al-Jokhadar, Amer and Jabi, Wassim ORCID: 2017. Vernacular neighbourhoods as models for socially-sustainable vertical cities: A computational approach. Presented at: International Conference for Sustainable Design of the Built Environment (SDBE 2017), London, 20 -21 December 2017. International Conference for Sustainable Design of the Built Environment (SDBE 2017) Proceedings. , vol.1 London: University of East London, pp. 76-87.

[thumbnail of SDBE2017_-Proceedings-Al-Jokhadar .pdf]
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (4MB) | Preview


The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has one of the world’s most rapidly expanding urban population. This issue has dramatic impacts on the built environment and increases the need for constructing sustainable vertical buildings. However, most recent developments in the study area have focused on utilising technology and have ignored the potential of incorporating social needs and cultural values. Information gained from a post-occupancy evaluation for contemporary apartment buildings in MENA region show that there are several problems affected the social life of residents. These include lower levels of social support, lower sense of community and familiarity with neighbours, and impacts on children as parents keep them inside apartments due to safety concerns and difficulties of supervision at a distance. Moreover, the excessive use of glazed facades and the standarization of floors destructed the privacy of the family and the identity of each unit. In contrast, vernacular neighbourhoods in the study area represent a successful example of a socially cohesive and healthy environment. For instance, the hierarchical configuration of public spaces and private courtyards allow for a high degree of social interaction between families, and at the same time maintain their privacy. This research aims to benefit from potentials of such horizontal clusters for generating socially-sustainable tall residential buildings that trace the cultural values of the society. Spatial analysis of various traditional neighbourhoods was adopted as a rigorous method for understanding the layout complexity and discovering logical topologies that have social or experiential significance. Using principles of shape grammar, results extracted from the analytical process, associated with specific requirements for vertical buildings, were used to identify sets of parametric rules that combine geometrical properties of spaces with aspects that enhance the social life of residents. Samples of potentially sustainable social solutions, generated by a computational tool, are presented.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tall Residential Buildings, Social Sustainability, Courtyards, Spatial Reasoning, Parametric Grammars
Additional Information: The authors would like to acknowledge the University of Petra, Jordan for funding the study. This research is supported by a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant (Grant No. RPG-2016-016).
Publisher: University of East London
ISBN: 978-1-9997971-0-2
Related URLs:
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 January 2018
Date of Acceptance: 23 October 2017
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 10:21

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics