Emulating the desert vernacular: Towards zero-carbon eco desert settlements in Egypt

Marwa Dabaieh*, Dalya Maguid, Deena El Mahdy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

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Zero carbon cities are relatively new concepts that aim to support cities in realizing ecological, social and economic
sustainable futures. It is argued that urbanization in developing countries may be the distinct greatest challenge in this
century. It is expected that 400,000 square kilometers will be built in the coming 30 years. This is equivalent to the world’s
built-up urban area in last 2000 years, given that cities alone account for 78 % of anthropogenic carbon emissions.
Furthermore, more devastation has been caused by the latest severe climate events, such as an increased average global
temperature, flooding, and massive forest fires. Accordingly, a sense of urgency has turned about the necessity to adopt
sustainable and ecological design principles for future cities development. Egypt as one of the developing countries that
is the third largest populated nation in Africa, is facing a series of threats. From which limited access to natural resources
in relation to the population size and economic growth besides the continuous challenging climate change implications.
Furthermore, Egypt is recently facing a major energy security problem, which strongly impacts all national plans for
economic development. Despite that, till now there are no clear laws or legislations for eco cities like zero carbon city
design and construction. The aim of this research paper is laying hands on hidden potentials and analyzing successful
private initiatives for existing eco communities in Egypt. Initiatives that have tried to apply some traditional zero carbon
design concepts based on lessons learned from vernacular architectural heritage in Egypt. The paper adopted an analytical
case study method tackling different aspects like; renewable energy, permaculture, passive systems, green infra structure
like eco-sanitation, recycling and solid waste management ending with carbon free transportation and green circular
economy. The research contributes by critically analyzing such attempts and concludes with design best practices and
strategies on how to reach an environmentally enriched, healthier, resilient and socially rewarding zero carbon cities,
running on their own locally available resources. Hoping that the recommendations are a nucleus for a national design
standard or a best practice manual towards better equitable urban future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceddings of CIAV scientific committee annual conference. Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development
PublisherICOMOS CIAV International Conference
Publication date1 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018
EventCultural Heritage and Sustainable Development 2018 - , Iran, Islamic Republic of
Duration: 1 Oct 20183 Oct 2018


ConferenceCultural Heritage and Sustainable Development 2018
Country/TerritoryIran, Islamic Republic of


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