LIVING IN HOT DESERTS:Is a sustainable urban design still possible in arid regions ? (LIVING IN HOT DESERT)

Venue: Ghardaia

Location: Ghardaia, Algeria

Event Date/Time: Dec 09, 2006 End Date/Time: Dec 12, 2006
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Description

The Polytechnic School of Architecture and Urban Design of Algiers (EPAU – Algeria), in collaboration with the Superior National School of Architecture of Toulouse (France), wish to associate to this scientific reflection on the problematic of life conditions in deserts. A seminary untitled «LIVING IN HOT DESERTS, is a sustainable urbanism still possible in the arid regions?» will mobilise many scientists, architects and urban designers, from a lot of countries that share these preoccupations.

This international meeting will try to bring up to a new scientific light the major reflections that stem from this issue and which will be organised around four themes:

Theme 1: Climatic change risks: consequences on the cities of the desert

The reflection about recent important climatic changes should allow to pinpoint the most important causes of human activity and of prevailing events, especially the aridity progress, to which the world should be prepared. This reflection should allow identifying
the essential measures to reduce the negative effects and put into perspective the necessity of a climatic urbanism.

Theme 2: Climatic urbanism

Communications in this theme will allow better understanding of the issues of sustainability in arid regions, especially with regard to the climatic factor. They will explain the physical phenomenon linked to urban microclimate, especially the effects of urban forms and natural elements. In conclusion the communications should reach essential recommendations concerning comfort.

Theme 3: Life style and social practices

The relative notion of physical comfort and the adequacy of the urban conceptions to the arid environment can only be appreciated by clearly putting into light the special relation people maintain with their physical environment, their perceptions and representations.

Theme 4: Materials and construction

Traditional construction techniques, based on vernacular skills and the use of local materials can be studied, adapted and mixed to contemporary approaches. This will help reduce the use of non renewable resources, the environmental impact of building, and allow an adaptation to various life styles.

Theme 5: Management of water

The scarcity of water being the principal constraint of life in arid region, it is essential to develop an efficient management of hydraulic resources in all the stages of the water cycle. This approach requires adequate urban design and techniques which will be develop in this part.

Theme 6: Examples of urban conception

Projects illustrating the best method of an integrated urban project in the arid regions will be presented by their designers. These examples will show how related scientific knowledge can represent powerful vectors of creativity.

All researchers and designers contribution will make part of a published work. Every team will be asked to develop one of the themes of this seminary in a paper of about twenty pages long.

All researchers and designers contribution will make part of a published work. Every team will be asked to develop one of the themes of this seminary in a paper of about twenty pages long.

Ghardaïa

Ghardaia is a city of tourism and discovery. It is one of the vernacular settlements named ksour, that compose the M’Zab valley . These settlements are found in the Algerian Sahara , 600 km south of Algiers the capital city. The M'Zab Valley is a word patrimony, protected by the UNESCO. Each ksar is composed by three distinct structured parts: First, are the palm trees, a green extension developed in the plain lying along a river called oued. Second, is the fortified city or ksar implanted on the piton of a radio concentric adaptation of courtyard houses with a mosque at the top, and finally, is the cimetery, found in the vicinity of the fortified urban form.

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Additional Information

In addition to this scientific event, an architecture competition for graduate students is launched. The hot deserts constitute hostile environments where people have to develop a great ingenuity in order to survive. The climatic constraints as well as the scarcity of resources constitute the main obstacles with which the traditional societies had necessarily composed in the past.In addition to this scientific event, an architecture competition for graduate students is launched. The hot deserts constitute hostile environments where people have to develop a great ingenuity in order to survive. The climatic constraints as well as the scarcity of resources constitute the main obstacles with which the traditional societies had necessarily composed in the past.

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