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Comparison study of traditional and contemporary housing design with reference to Tripoli, Libya

By AA Amer


Over the course of the last few decades, most developing countries, including Libya,\ud have experienced a rapid economic growth and associated increase in population.\ud This growth has led to a substantial increase in the implementation of contemporary\ud housing programmes and urbanisation in the form of new districts, mainly\ud influenced by western models, although the use of some traditional forms continues\ud in hybrid designs.\ud Traditional housing gains its name due to its close relationship between the\ud functional needs of the occupants, the culture, the climate, and other aspects of the\ud living environment. In contrast contemporary designs of houses have appeared only\ud recently in State development plans and projects, and have begun to show some\ud shortcomings in functionality. Thus, this study aims to investigate and understand\ud the reason for these shortcomings and to make recommendations for future housing\ud policies in the state.\ud The design of traditional and contemporary housing in Tripoli-Libya is analysed in\ud terms of suitability for cultural, social and climate conditions. This is explored\ud through contextual research based on a review of the literature, concentrating on the\ud development of housing design in Libya since 1885, including all the factors that\ud have influenced Libyan housing design.\ud The satisfaction level of the occupants living within both types of housing has been\ud explored in three representative case study areas in Tripoli. Residents' views on their\ud satisfaction with their house were sought through questionnaires. Interviews were\ud also conducted amongst government officials and design professional concerned\ud with housing design and implementation programmes to understand professional\ud opinion on the quality of traditional and contemporary housing.\ud The main conclusions drawn from the research emphasises the importance of social\ud and cultural factors, climate conditions, and local building materials, as they all play\ud an important role in designing any house and are important to the level of\ud satisfaction of users. Regardless of the advantages of the contemporary housing used\ud in the case study areas in terms of space and access for motor transport, most\ud respondents were dissatisfied with their new houses in terms of privacy, climate\ud condition, and building materials used in the construction. The research also\ud illustrates the danger of not properly considering all these factors may result in\ud dissatisfaction of users, and may lead them to alter or modify their houses. This may\ud lead to illegal and possibly unsafe modifications, or at least to unsatisfactory visual\ud appearance.\ud Finally, based on the study of both traditional and contemporary houses, the findings\ud of the empirical study, and the opinions of experts, a set of guidelines for future\ud house designs are presented. The guidelines inform and possibly assist designers,\ud planners, academics and Libyan public policy makers to achieve the goals of\ud providing new housing concepts and forms, which are appropriate to the\ud requirements of residents, and which do not detract nor constrain their social and\ud cultural activities

Topics: TH, TA, built_and_human_env
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