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User-Initiated Transformations of Public Housing

A Case Study of King Fahd Housing Project in Makkah; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Thesis (M.A.) 2011 82 Pages

Urban and Regional Planning

Excerpt

Table of Contents

Dedication
Acknowledgements
List of Figures
List of Tables
Abstract

Acronyms

Chapter-1
Introduction
1.1Research Problem
1.2 Research aim
1.3 Research objectives
1.4 Structure of the dissertation
1.5 Relevance of Study to Spatial Planning

Chapter-2
User-Initiated Changes
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Definition of User-Initiated Change
2.3 Examples of Resident’s Changes
2.4 Physical Features of the Traditional Arab Houses
2.5 Design principles
2.5.1Design principles based on environmental sensibility
2.5.2 Design principles based on morphological integrity
2.5.3 Design principles based on symbolic clarity
Conclusion

Chapter-3
Research Methodology
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research Methodology
First stage: Literature Review
Second stage: Data Collection
Third stage: Data analysis and recommendations
3.3 Case Study
3.4 Fieldwork and Questionnaire Surveys

Chapter-4
The Housing System in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Phases of changes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
4.2.1 Phase I: The phase of consolidation and settlement (1902-1938)
4.2.2 Phase II: Phase of oil detection (1939-1950)
4.2.3 Phase III: Phase of economic fluctuations and the beginning of planning (1951-1969)
4.2.4 Phase IV: Phase of comprehensive planning from 1970
4.3 Housing types
Palaces
Villas
Apartments
4.4 Tenure and the Land
New Seller
Rent
Infringement
4.5 Housing System in Saudi Arabia
Detached villas
Traditional attached houses
Apartments
Housing compounds
4.6 Housing Costs in Saudi Arabia
4.7 Housing Codes in Saudi Arabia
Conclusion

Chapter-5
The Development of the King Fahd Housing Project
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Entrance to Makkah
5.3 King Fahd Housing Project
5.4 The Infrastructure of King Fahd Housing Project
5.5 The Carrying Capacity of the Building
Conclusion

Chapter-6
Examination of the Transformation Analysis and the Reasons for the King Fahd Scheme
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Field Survey
6.2.1 The Samples
6.2.2 Household Characteristics
6.2.3 Addition of Floor Space
6.2.4 Types of Transformation
6.2.5 Reasons for Transformation
6.3 Visual Survey
6.3.1 Buildings forms
6.3.2 The Streets
6.3.3 Landscaping and Open Areas
6.3.4 Visual Perception
6.3.5 The Aesthetical Values
Conclusion

Chapter-7
Conclusions and Recommendations
7.1 Conclusions
7.2 Recommendations
The first proposal
The second proposal

References

List of Figures

Figure 1

Figure 2Examples of self-built transformations(Manalang et al. 2002): (a) Cantilever extensions at the rear portion of building;

Figure 3Chronological transformations of the villa house (1957-2001)

Figure 4House with base made of stone,

Figure 5 Two types of natural elements for shadow in houses with courtyard

Figure 6 Traditional Arab interior courtyard housing

Figure 7The selected section used in the research

Figure 8Unplanned Saudi Arabia settlements(a); and Barastis housing (b)

Figure 9Villas constructed in 1950’s by the ARAMCO Home Ownership Program

Figure 10Homes in Makkah constructed in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, which contain traditional and modern elements

Figure 11Inter-relationship of household functions important for Gulf Arab housing design(Gulf Architecture, 2011)

Figure 12 One of existing palaces in Saudi Arabia

Figure 13 One of the largest villas in Saudi Arabia (Al-Aziziyah district - Riyadh city)

Figure 14 Small villas in Saudi Arabia (hills district - Taif city)

Figure 15 One of forms of apartments in Saudi Arabia

Figure 16 Population growth in urban areas of Saudi Arabia

Figure 17 Saudi Building Code (SBC) Committees

Figure 18Map of the population density in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and typical view of the public habitats

Figure 19Hajj 2006 in Masjid al-Haram with an overall view of the city

Figure 20Areas surrounding the location of the study

Figure 21location of units for two stages of the project

Figure 22Land use at King Fahd housing project

Figure 23Infrastructure maps at King Fahd housing project

Figure 24Perception allowed for the house after the construction of the second round

Figure 25The area which is chosen in the survey

Figure 26The area which is chosen in the survey with villa numbers

Figure 27The Pie Chart of the buildings that have been changed

Figure 28The buildings have been changed and fined

Figure 29The Tenure Pie Chart

Figure 30The Pie Chart shows the ages of the head of the household

Figure 31The monthly income for households

Figure 32Pie Chart of Addition area

Figure 33Bar chart of the types of transformation

Figure 34A map showing the empty space behind the kitchen

Figure 35Bar chart of reasons for transformation

Figure 36The original design for the units

Figure 37The designs after user initiated change

Figure 38The types of roads

Figure 39Images showing the car parking spaces

Figure 40Landscaping in the district

Figure 41Visual perception before changes

Figure 42Visual perception after changes

Figure 43Values of beauty

List of Tables

Table 1Elements of the project and the areas

Table 2 Household Size

Table 3Cross tabulation between income and added floors

Table 4: Cross tabulation between ages and added floors

Table 5Cross tabulation between tenure and added floors

Dedication

This dissertation is dedicated to my father and to the soul of my mother who I wished could have witnessed my progress and the accomplishment of this work

Your Son

Yasser

Acknowledements

I would like to express my gratitude to all those who helped me, whether directly or indirectly, in the preparation of my dissertation.

I am especially indebted to thank Professor Ya Ping Wang for his great help in supervising this dissertation.

I also have the pleasure of remembering and acknowledging those who provided assistance and advice to me during the data collecting and fieldwork.

Thanks also go to Dr Abdulhafiz Hafazalla for advising me during this research. I would also like to thank Fiona McMurray who helped me proof read the paper.

Finally, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to my family, especially my father, my wife, my brothers and my sister, without whose support and patience this work could never have been completed.

Abstract

This study addresses the issue of the residents’ modifications to their homes in a government housing project in Saudi Arabia. It also identifies the reasons for these modifications and the subsequent effects of such changes.

The study has used the King Fahd housing project as case study, examining the development of public housing in Saudi Arabia and whether the housing took the needs of the new residents into account. It tried to verify whether the project had achieved its purpose after the residents had moved in.

The study has reviewed the laws and regulations for housing in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and then collected the information through a field survey, visual survey and personal interviews, then analysed all the data collected by the logic and the SPSS programme in order to extract results.

Recommendations were made based on the results to address some the problems identified and to prevent additional problems the future.

Acronyms

ASCE American Society of Civil Engineers

CCSBC committees includes Consultative Committee

KFUPM King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals

KSA Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

KSU King Saud University

MMRA Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs

MOI-DCD Ministry of Interior – Directorate of Civil Defence

NCSBC National Committee of the Saudi Building Code

REDF Real Estate Development Fund

RG&ME Rashid Geotechnical and Material Engineers

SABIC Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation

SBC Saudi Building Code

STC Structural Technical Committee

SWCC Saline Water Conversion Corporation

Chapter-1 Introduction

1.1Research Problem

Urban planning is a system that determines the development and land use in a new city or re-design of an existing space. One of the uses in the city is the land allocated for housing. Housing can be defined generally as a study of the housing units where people live. It is also a study of the housing market which is producing residential units for people. Furthermore, it is a study of the wishes and requirements of people for their shelter and sees the problems faced by people in gaining adequate housing for them. In addition, it is necessary to know what the impacts of housing are on psychological, social and cultural aspects of society.

There are many types of housing around the world, but the quality of housing is affected by the environment surrounding it such as family resources. There are also many surrounding systems that affect families and the quality of housing. More than that, there are many factors that impact the decisions which are taken by families including the information available to the family regarding various housing and other factors related to social and economic systems, political and others related to the government at the local and international level.

One of the most Published types is Public Housing.Public Housing is a form of housing tenure that is often owned by the government, and which is administered through governmental sectors or non-profit organisations. The aim of this housing type is to provide affordable housing with the belief that every citizen is entitled to home. There are different methods for the acquisition of housing and these depend on government policies in the distribution, some of them are rented accommodation, some of them are sold to people and sometimes the government gave the houses by free charge to beneficiaries.

From this perspective, the Ministry of Housing in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia began work in this direction and started a number of public housing projects in different regions. This includesthe Ad Dammam housing project – Dammam city and King Fahd housing project - Makkah city which is the case study in this dissertation.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1

Ad Dammam housing project – Dammam city: Source Ministry of finance in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 2011

http://www.aqarea.com/mhome Accessed May 24, 2012

The Government of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has carried out many residential projects in the cities. Then they distributed these units to citizens who have applied to the Ministry of Housing.

However, several years after residents moved in to their homes, a large number of the residents made lots of changes to their homes, such as changes to the internal divisions of the unit or addingextensions to the outside or surrounding spaces. In some cases, these changes exceededwhat was authorized, and that causeda considerable number of problems.

This research has selected a case study to discuss this issue and find out what types of changes were made and the reasons for prompting the residents to make them.Finally, the research_ attempts to identify how residents would like this area to be regeneratedwhile saving the character of the regionas decided by the designers and the developers.

1.2 Research aim

The main aim of this research project is to find out whether the houses or units built by government meet the requirement of the targeted people. The study uses King Fahd Housing Project in Makkah as a case study.

This study will try to answer to the following questions

i. Why are residents making changes to their housing?
ii. What changes have the residents made?
iii. What are the implications of these changes to planning and housing?

This research is an attempt to study the impacts of modifications which have been made by the inhabitants of King Fahd housing project. It will analyse the historical, the environmental, social and psychological aspects. It will also discuss the possible solutions to managing these situations in the future through appropriate urban planning, especially in big cities such as the Holy City Makkah.

1.3 Research objectives

i. To achieve theresearch aim, this project has the followingobjectives:
ii. To discuss the general features of the housing system in Saudi Arabia.
iii. To review of literature on public housing development and user initiated change.
iv. To examine the development of King Fahd scheme.
v. To examine the transformation and the reasons in King Fahd scheme.
vi. To extract the results and recommendations.

1.4 Structure of the dissertation

This dissertation consists of seven chapters:

First chapter is the introductory chapter that gives justification for this research study; chapter also provides a brief description of research goals and key objectives. Furthermore this chapter displays the structure of dissertation.

The Second chapter considers the definition of public housing and population interventions in changingfeatures of theirhomes. Italso reviews the background of the existing experience of public housing in many regions in the world.

Third chapter mainly discusses the methodology adopted for research study including the approach, methods of data collection, data analysis, and methods of presentation.

Chapter four, reviews the housing systems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and some of the information to identify the housing factors such as units and. In addition to the history of the changes in the residential sites in Saudi Arabia.

Core of the research study is its fifth chapterthat is a case study, chosen to demonstrate the actual research problem. Information about the style of Saudi cities represented in Makkah city will also be reviewed. This chapter also discusses the King Fahd housing project as a prelude to the analysis in the next chapter.

Sixth chapter consist the research analysis of the factors influencing the changes made to homes through the analysis methods thin finding the results.

Finally, seventh chapter involves a discussion of the conclusions drawn from the literature review, as well as; the research work by assessing whether the objectives and aims of the research have been met. In addition, strategy recommendations are made to avoid the problems in the future.

1.5Relevance of Study to Spatial Planning

The Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) new vision for planning states that “Planning involves twin activities: the management of the competing uses for space; and the making of places that are valued and have identity” (RTPI, 2001 p.2). An example of such a relationship is that “governmental policy can only be properly demonstrated by consideration of their aggregate impacts for specific places” (RTPI, 2001 p.2). This research project has sought to assess the impact of government policy and the reaction of users to services submitted by the government, therefore this is directly related to the RTPI’s new vision for planning.

Researcher's work experience and studies both have influenced the focus of the topic of public housing in general and user-Initiated Transformations or regeneration as a chosen specialism. Italso complements what has been studied over the last year of modules and materials, especially the regeneration modules, which helped to increase understanding of the role of governments in the planning of services and the reactions of users to these services. In the same way,the planning theories module helped me to understand the theoretical aspects of this subject.

Chapter-2 User-Initiated Changes

2.1 Introduction

This chapter is very important because it provides the background information to the study. In this chapter, the research reviews certain residential projects which are located around the world and the residents whose live in these projects and have made changes to their homes. It also displays how the government handled them. It is to be noted that this research will use several words that are synonymous and all lead to one meaning; transformation, modifications, amendments, and changes.

2.2 Definition of User-Initiated Change

Previously, two categories of transformations were known intuitively and exploited in architectural research, namely, add-in changes when they have been made within the existing building and add-on changes when additional elements are attached on the building or within it increasing the whole useful area.

To account for all typical modifications in details, Al-Naim & Mahmud (2005) proposed four main categories of housing transformations in relation to Dhaka and Hofuf urban cities:

i. Slight adjustment to dwelling;
ii. Addition of elements and division of spaces;
iii. Total functional conversion; and
iv. Reconstruction (complete removing).

The authors observed similarities in the transformations and in the spatial arrangement of internal spaces when the building is occupied by people from same regions, nationality, or have similar economic conditions.

The modifications may be initiated by needs to conserve the historic housing and monuments within urban environment. Soliman (2010) gives examples of conservation of historic urban areas in Old Jeddah city as well the approaches used to solve the problems during different modifications, usually, related to ground floor reuse for commercial purposes.

Kellett et al. (1993) and Tipple (1992) considered user-initiated transformation to be an important means of improving the quality and size of the dwelling. Kellett et al. (1993) viewed housing transformation as a natural process of continual changes for both users and of houses, while Tipple (1992) concluded that self-initiated transformations were caused not only by desire to increase space, but also to improve privacy and access to service spaces.

Moreover; Friedman (1996) investigated housing projects and concluded that open and unfinished space is an important element in the design concept for residential houses. Involvements in further design and modification activity had provided residents with a sense of pride, confidence, and established a feeling of attachment to their dwelling unit.

Furthermore; Otsuki (1999) concluded that residents’ adaptation to multi-unit dwellings and further transformations varied in accordance with the neighbourhood situation, which influenced the changes of space usage within all life cycle. Salama (1998) viewed the increasing number of multi-storey building transformations as the progressive steps from individual habitats toward community.

Additionally; Mushtaha & Noguchi (2005) investigated living and environmental conditions from the viewpoint of housing planning, construction, and operation. They noted that these outer factors have low priority as compared to the conventional demands in overall cost, size and form of building, its location, and aesthetics features.

The authors investigated two housing projects with many living units, which had been built to resolve housing problems, but without specific studies related to the cultural traditions and environmental comfort of indoor spaces for residents. The data was collected from interviews with 200 residents of two public housing projects in the Gaza region and visual observation.

They noted the following disadvantages expressed by occupants of dwellings:

i. Lack of proper entrance hall.
ii. The entrance door is negatively closed to the guest room.
iii. The water closet (WC) is too far from the guest room.
iv. Lack of natural light and ventilation in the WC.
v. Lack of storage spaces within the kitchen.
vi. Windows without security bars.

2.3 Examples of Resident’s Changes

This study focuses on finding appropriate architectural and physical characteristics of modern houses throughout the Gaza region by analysis of historical house layout in order to formulate guidance for future planning and construction.

Manalang et al. (2002) showed not only how the houses are transformed, but investigated their relations to residents’ behaviour within the profession change process chronologically. This is useful to understand the reasons for extensions in Manila. They combined the self-built improvements with two parameters (professional change and household change and growth). As a result, eight typical patterns of transformation were found.

During the first stage (1-2 years) the main types of transformations are: increasing the service space (construction of cantilever extensions), and storage space (fabrication and installation of cabinets and shelves).

In the second stage (up to the 4th year), when the number of residents increase, the main types of transformations are: demolition/removal of existing walls, removal of doors and windows, and extension of kitchen counters, finishing works (plastering and painting works), construction of extensions and mezzanine floors, aiming to increase the dimensions of dwellings. Finally, the authors concluded that certain open spaces for improvements such as extensions should be introduced at the planning stage to provide flexibility for residents in modifications while they are living there.

The purpose of the study (Manalang et al. 2003) was to clarify the possibility of predicting residents’ intentions relocate from their self-built improvements using the Qualification Method for the analysis. Self-built improvements were classified into three categories:

i. Kinds of improvements;
ii. Usage of improvements; and
iii. Opinions on future improvements.

The statistical data shows that residents who installed a grille balcony at the rear portion of their dwelling units and used them as kitchen and storage (seefigure 2) as well as residents who constructed mezzanine floors and used them for bedroom and storage have the intention to stay in their dwelling longer. On the other hand, those residents who did not make any improvements are more likely to move out.

The installation of grille balconies increases kitchen and storage spaces, while the construction of mezzanine floors adds sleeping and storage spaces. The process of these developments unites them into their dwelling units. Thus, different kinds (levels) of self-built extensions of dwelling can be used as indicators for the residential mobility prediction of their inhabitants’ intentions.

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(a) (b)

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(c) (d)

Figure 2Examples of self-built transformations(Manalang et al. 2002):

(a) Cantilever extensions at the rear portion of building;
(b) Amezzanine floor used as a sleeping area;
(c) Using balconies as storage or as parts of the adjacent room; and
(d) Cantilever balcony grilles and corridors converted into a kitchen

Sari et al. (2011) determined how traditions, customs and beliefs have affected the formation of the Turkish house. The elements in the traditional Turkish house were determined, such as: the mass structure and courtyard, harem-selamlik (women’s quarters and men’s quarters), sofa and room. The evaluations were made with the sample houses selected to represent the whole country. The authors concluded that today’s houses did not reflect the successful design of the houses in the past and improvements are required for regions with hot weather.

Sueca (2003) investigated urban areas in Denpasar in Bali. The author suggests by regression analysis that both household and dwelling characteristics support the decision to make transformations. The original house size and the original number of bedrooms may be used as predictors. The following characteristics are important: total expenditure, number of occupants, household type, and ownership. He concluded that housing transformation is a social process of individual and group identity expression and is the evidence of cultural change rather than individual action. Despite some negative consequences, it has a positive effect on better living conditions and higher social status.

Tipple & Ameen (1999) presented the findings of research into the house extensions or alterations undertaken by the occupants of government housing in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They showed that these extensions are not a reason for slums appearing as even government officials often assume and try to stop such changes. In fact, these changes produce more rooms per person, improved physical conditions and simultaneously the value of the housing. This is relatively cheap and frequently a way for enlarged low-income families to obtain good accommodation. For example, dividing the original structure into smaller rooms increases rooms per person factor from 0.13 to 0.20 (50 %), while the square meters per person factor remains almost the same: 3.88 and 3.77. Hence, the privacy of family members is increased in a simple way. Some recommendations were given to change official attitudes and regulation documents enabling such house extensions.

AlSaid (2003) explained the use of aerial photographs and other sources of information in the analysis of structural pattern and transformation of contemporary Saudi neighbourhood in relation to Al-Malaz Neighbourhood, Riyadh. The historical and legislative process of its development was investigated. Traditional patterns were compared with Western neighbourhood concepts. The author showed the chronological process of modification of a standard villa. The research was also based on aerial images (see figure 3). The regulations for street pattern organisation were violated by the neighbourhood, but the traditional concept of building structure was still in effect. This factor without accounting for urban planning can become uncontrolled and lead to economic decline.

Idris (2001) evaluated the conditions and living spaces in flats with standard design by evidence from the King Saud University staff in Riyadh. For this purpose a post occupancy survey was conducted among a random sample to obtain statistical information on users’ opinions. Results showd that most of the users were not satisfied with the number and size of rooms, lack of privacy, small storage area and the poor environmental conditions. Effective solutions to fulfill inhabitants’ requirements are in understanding of previous housing experiences and their cultural background. This multi-stairs building was designed with narrow corridors and the doors of separated rooms on both sides.

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Figure 3Chronological transformations of the villa house (1957-2001)

(AlSaid. 2003)

The climes of flats users can be summarised in their following statements:

i. The respondents were very critical of the central corridor because it divides and segregates the living spaces of the flats, restricting family integration.
ii. The existing layout of flats does not provide privacy as the most occupants use physical devices (curtains) for separation. However, such methods decrease the quality of the internal environment; for example, light, ventilation, and social interaction.
iii. The area of the three types of flats is not balanced with the number of rooms compared with the number of persons per family. In addition, flats contain two bathrooms regardless of number of rooms.
iv. Flats require separated study area, bigger storage space, and family space.
v. Block design (layout and orientation), use of thin uninsulated materials do not account for the environment and climate in region.
vi. The external spaces around the building are not used by occupants because they are not well landscaped and have no space for the rest of the families.

Some respondents have suggested removing the partition between the corridor and the women’s reception area in order to improve the personal space within the flat so that there is a larger space for family living. However, this suggestion is difficult to implement. The small sized rooms coupled with the lack of family living space produce the feeling of isolation among family members. The central corridor seems to be a barrier between the different members of the family and restricts their integration and association with each other. In addition, respondents claim that the cooking smell and fumes spread along the corridor.

The segregation of space by gender is common in Muslim communities and requires the implementation of special design. Although the current design provides a separate reception room for women, this room is located deep inside the flat near the master bedroom. This causes certain inconveniences for men inside the flat in the presence of female guests. Closing doors, windows, and drawing curtains as methods to increase privacy has created many problems with ventilation, lack of light in the corridor, and isolation of users.

In another study, Mofti (1981) compared the rate of satisfaction of occupants of traditional dwellings with those of modern housing in Riyadh. He found that the traditional dwelling is preferable in many aspects. In his study, Mofti used a 10 points rating scale to evaluate occupants’ preferences, in both traditional and modern dwellings, with respect to privacy, cultural norms like eating, sleeping and entertaining, as well as the ability of the dwelling to meet the changing needs of space according to the life cycle of family. The traditional dwelling has shown superiority over the contemporary house in all aspects.

Al-Tassan (1986) conducted a field investigation to evaluate the users’ preferences and needs of five low-rise housing flats built between 1973 and 1980. Findings of his study revealed that these housing projects depended heavily on imported technology and design. Regarding the King Fahd University housing flats, which were built in 1973, he asserted that the technical limitations of the selected system and the unfamiliarity of the designer with local culture and social values of Saudi Society, badly affected the quality of the floor plan.

Morris et al. (1978) found that satisfaction depends on a whole system of beliefs and opinions that the occupant entertains in respect to his dwelling and which are not connected with its physical characteristics. Other researchers connected satisfaction with the value of the apartments in the market Rapoport (1980). On the other hand, Wilner et al. (1955) considered satisfaction to arise from the absence of various troubles like unpleasant occupants’ neighbours, or the small number of rooms per family and the absence of a private bathroom and kitchen. Whereas Oates (1969) maintained that the level of services supplied by the local authorities is the main contribution to satisfaction.

All respondents from Medium Rise Buildings (MRB) concluded that transformations (modifications and extensions) are mostly illegal and they had adapted their dwellings to their own expectations and lifestyle.

2.4 Physical Features of the Traditional Arab Houses

Horne (1982) describes traditional rural houses in Saudi Arabia. They have variable shapes, heights, and plans as well different construction materials even in neighbouring villages. Materials are stone, packed mud or mud brick. Houses are mostly rectangular with one or more rooms on each floor and a single entrance, in contrast to courtyard houses where each room opens onto a common unroofed space. Large houses had several storeys, the lower one has two stables and storerooms, the first consists of living rooms and kitchen, and the top (sometimes built later) the guesthouse with openings on several sides for light and view (Figure 4a).

To protect walls from the heavy rains, slate courses are projected at half-meter intervals between packed mud courses. Soft mud melting is prevented by the overhanging slates slope so that the rain does not run down the walls. Inhabitants can practice their activities in Iwan (Figure 4b) as an important element of houses. Bedrooms are recommended to face to Kaaba during sleeping times.

Generally, the form of traditional houses is influenced by physical, social and psychological factors. Human choices within the physical reality are directly related to local climate and geology. Two overriding factors, climate and the availability of building materials, have limited the traditional Arab architectural forms to certain extent. However, a view beyond the simple design of many sand/mud buildings shows the importance of the complex of varied details.

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(a) (b)

Figure 4House with base made of stone,

upper levels are mud with slate courses (a);

Iwan area with entrance from courtyard (b)

(Horne, 1982)

Sharif et al. (2010) qualitatively identified the physical features of the traditional Arab houses in Tripoli and Libya in terms of their privacy and their physical response to the environment. The research measured elements of courtyard housing style and consequently how they adapt to the environment’s culture and climate. The physical features of a traditional house and user behavioural preferences of gender segregation are evaluated. His paper contributes to establishing an environmental analogy of man with social, physical and psychological dimensions of his habitat.

Traditional Arab houses are characterised by courtyards as physical and cultural symbols of inward directed openings; hierarchy of spaces to uphold of Islamic social order on gender as well as appropriate application of local conditions and construction materials. Courtyards work like environmental bioclimatic thermal regulators. Air from the courtyard affects only the internal space without any artificial means of mechanical ventilation if the air circulation is organised effectively. Courtyards provide comfortable areas during the hot season. The opening and closing of doors are employed to influence the internal microclimate (Figure 5). They act like cups holding cool air (cooled at night) to be used during the day time.

Moreover, courtyards physically protect the structure against strong winds during storms and bad weather. Culturally, the same space is dedicated to the private outdoor relaxation of women and children. The courtyard may have trees, water pools, wells, awnings to soften the effects of heat and glare. There is covered logins (Iwans) surrounding one or more of the courtyards which provide further protection from the sun (see figure 5b). The number of courtyard varies from one to five in large houses.

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Figure 5 Two types of natural elements for shadow in houses with courtyard

(Sharif et al, 2010)

The air circulation methods include special air intakes in the Majis. These air intakes are located high on the walls in the northern direction to catch brief winds. Narrow, short openings were built on the opposite side to provide exchange of currents and cooling air by their interaction.

Edwards et al. (2006) present the main treats of traditional courtyard houses:

i. Privacy of the occupants, especially women, in relation to the visitors and outside;
ii. The treatment of guests;
iii. Responsibility to the neighbour; and
iv. Modesty in life.

Privacy of women should be respected in all circumstances at every level. In multi courtyard houses, the second courtyard is likely to be the family courtyard which may always be used by the women where complete privacy is ensured. The male reception area is separated from other family private areas. It has direct access from outside without going through the house. It is used by women to move between different parts of the house providing privacy for them to conduct their social activities, eating, and sleeping during the hot summer season. The courtyard is an important part of the house and occupies about half of the traditional house area (see figure 6). The courtyard is the controlled source of light, providing shade as the sun moves across the sky, and allows a portion of the light to be used for all indoor living purpose.

A courtyard may be square, rectangle, and trapezoid plan type surrounded by buildings oriented on the main directions such as east–west and north–south. Blocks surrounding courtyards are usually perpendicular to each other irrespective of the plot geometry. The things most frequently done in the courtyard tend to be those done in groups. The absence of windows on the external walls avoids the viewing out of the room as well as looking in by outsiders. The raised parapets are provided in the roof, which is used by occupants as living space.

The facade of the external wall does not contain any decoration reflecting modesty in life principle. The main door is usually decorated as opposed to the austere design of facade and exterior walls.

The courtyard house is an example of how Middle Eastern traditions in architecture influence other countries and nations. This type of housing has at least 2000 years of history and occurs in many regions of the world. However, its origins are associated with the Middle Eastern where climate and culture made it an essential shape for surviving in hot climate. Other examples also exist in Latin America, China, and in Europe where the model has been reinterpreted.

This example demonstrates that the courtyard housing type has a future. In order to enhance housing sustainability several interrelated parties involved in construction like planners, designers, and developers need to carefully implement this element of traditional architecture.

2.5 Design principles

Haider (1988) defined the basic principles inherent to Islam in environment building and housing adaptation. His three Design Principles summarise the ideals of Islamic environment perceived by Muslims. These are the following:

i. Environmental sensibility
ii. Morphological integrity
iii. Symbolic clarity

Each group encompasses certain attributes, which were accounted for in traditional Islam architecture.

2.5.1 Design principles based on environmental sensibility

Seasons, sun and air are respected as the prime reason and the original motivation for architecture. Architecture responds to climate in the same manner of honesty as sand dunes respond to wind or the tropical forests to rain. The aim is to achieve comfort without excessive technical intervention. Gardens, flowers and pools positively influence people and represent life.

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Figure 6 Traditional Arab interior courtyard housing

(Sharif et al, 2010)

Materials, tools and crafts form the real matter, work of art in architecture. The degree of intrusion into the natural material reflects technical progress, but also indicates a degree of separation from the origin of things. Technology in this sense requires limits.

2.5.2 Design principles based on morphological integrity

Size, scale, and quality are explained in the mosque design, and sensitivity to human nature in Islamic architecture where grandness and monumentality coincides with quality. To convey a special meaning is a challenge for all designers. In the historic architecture of the Muslim world form follows space and space is adapted to function. Islamic environment has a continuity, which suggests transition among polarities of outside and inside, public and private. Islamic architecture supposes hierarchies with transitional connectivity among various levels of the house, street, bazaar, and garden.

2.5.3 Design principles based on symbolic clarity

Tradition corresponds to normative behaviour as the basis of cultural continuity. Identity is based on socio‑cultural acceptability. Islam architecture encourages expression of special nature by the door to a house, unique character of a bazaar, or materials and forms of buildings, recognizing one family from another. It would be injustice to Islam to expect a universal, prototypical expression of nature in architecture. The Muslim world gives a rich mosaic of elements such as wall, gateway, arcade, courtyard, pool, fountain, minaret, dome, screen and skylight. It is a duty of Arab designers today to create a relevant language of elements.

Conclusion

This chapter reviewssome experiments in residents’ transformations and after analysing the results of these transformations, we can infer that the modifications in the Middle Eastern are similar tothe modifications in many placesin the world. Furthermore, lots offamiliesmovingto other accommodation when they want and make some changes that suit for them but the problem is the extent of the impact of these changes to the area from the planning side. It can also be concluded that there is a relationship between public housing and resident’s transformations because in most cases in public housing projects,the housing units are ready made for new residents. However,in other types of housing, the residents will build their own home by themselves and plan them according to their needs.

Chapter-3 Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction

This research requires the collection of a considerable amount of information to identify all the aspects that intervene in the case study. It aims to provide the reader or the beneficiary of this thesis with a clear and explicit idea of how it indicated the real issues and what steps were used to reach an integrated and well-defined piece of research.

3.2 Research Methodology

After selecting the case study and determining the subject of the research, the research was divided into three basic stages from the first day of the period allocated to it. In order to achieve the main goal of these the following methods were used.

First stage: Literature Review

The literature review looked at current experiments which were related to the subject matter of this research. It served as the backbone of the research or study to establish the relevance of the work. Also it helped to increase knowledge about the subject of the study. The contents of the literature review have been collected from various sources, primarily from academic research journals, technical reports, articles, internet websites, governmental publications, similar research works and publication from professional bodies as well as text books related to the subject matter.

Second stage: Data Collection

The second phase in this research involves a case study for practical experience in Makkah city which is considered one of the most important cities in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and it is from the largest public housing projects in Saudi Arabia. It is the King Fahd housing project.

The data in this part was collected by field survey, visual survey and personal interviews. The research involved the design of a special questionnaire to collect data that would benefit the study. Questionnaires were distributed to the owners of residential units by the researcher after the step of selecting approximately 300 samples.

Third stage: Data analysis and recommendations

After the completion of the distribution of questionnaires, the data was analyzed. The results of the analysis and deductions then discussed. Finally, the conclusions of the findings are provided together with recommendations.

3.3 Case Study

This research includes a selection of residential projects in public housing to support and prove the theoretical studies. The King Fahd housing project has beenselected because it is one of the largest housing projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and it is located in Makkah, one of the most important cities.

The designers and developers of the King Fahd housing project are the Saudi government. They targeted middle-income citizens for this project. This project will be implemented in two stages, the first one is already completed and the second is currently under construction.

Due to the large site of study, the fact there are 1446 housing units, and the limited time which was allowed for this study, the researcher divided the site into three sections and chose one of them for the field survey as can be seen in figure 7. The selected part in the research reflects what is in the other parts and it has 320 residential units.

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Figure 7The selected section used in the research

3.4Fieldwork and Questionnaire Surveys

To gain a broad appreciation of the issues and fuller understanding of the planning system’s potential in the housing, a general survey of those with detailed knowledge of what is happening on the ground at the present time was undertaken. Surveys are a recognised way of achieving this wide coverage and breadth of views. Furthermore, as a low-cost means of generating relatively large quantities of data in a short time period, they were considered invaluable in the context of this research project, where both time and cost were key constraints.

Therefore, it was necessary to achieve some goals and prove the hypothesis; aspired to in this research through the distribution of questionnaires to the residents in the district to identify the improvements made. This stage allows integration between outdoor access and the planning system.

The researcher spent three weeks for the period of 7 to 29 Jon, 2011 conductinga field survey of the site in Makkah, for the purposes of collecting primary data. However, the collection of research data was not confined within this period. The benefit of the fieldwork to this research project was to collect the data and official statistics, carry out interviews, undertake field visits, view primary documents, and gather information relating to the residential units and neighbourhoods in the form of maps, photographs, and verbal information.

The researcher divided the district into three sections and selected the section that represented the rest of the spaces in the district. The number of questionnaires that were distributed in the study was 320 and the questions covered by the questionnaire are in Appendix 1.

Chapter-4 The Housing System intheKingdom of Saudi Arabia

4.1 Introduction

In this chapter,the study reviewssome general informationabout the housingin theKingdom of Saudi Arabiasuch as thecharacteristics of the population,housing types specially the traditional kindand the way for the peopleto have access toaccommodation.

This chapter also presents the stages of changes and evolution, which have taken placein the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since the establishment of the country until the present time. Those stages will be in some fields such as (The economic situation, Urbanisation, Demographic and social changes).

4.2 Phases of changes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The development of urbanisation in Saudi Arabia had a very distinctive character. It happened so rapidly leaving no chance for the tribal society, which is deeply rooted to its customs and traditions, to be prepared for the massive transformation that reached every aspect of its life. A transformation that took more than a century to evolve in the western society was abruptly introduced as a delivered package for the Saudis where the majority at that point was still living in traditional mud or stone houses.

According to AlShiha et al. (2005), most of the economic, urban, demographic and social changes in Saudi Arabia occurred in the following four phases as they are determined below.

4.2.1 Phase I: The phase of consolidation and settlement (1902-1938)

The beginning of the third Saudi state started with an unstable and volatile political situation, which continued until 1932 where the rest of the regions were unified as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Financial resources were few and limited, based mainly on Hajj, agriculture and grazing. Although oil was extracted and practically produced in 1938, the revenue from petrol appeared later on. Saudis during this period were either tribal groups living in closed traditional settlements or unsettled Bedouins.

Some of the Saudi regions experienced more civilized conditions as they were affected by trade routes like in the eastern region or by the holy duty of Hajj in the western region. Despite the limited economic situation and delimited land within the city walls, which were demolished by the end of this phase, families rarely moved from their ancestral residences. Instead, houses were altered and transformed to cope with changing demands, whether by expanding horizontally as in many houses of the Eastern and central region, or vertically as in the case of Jeddah, Makkah and Al-Medina or by subdividing the original residence.

4.2.2 Phase II: Phase of oil detection (1939-1950)

This phase was characterised by the growth of existing urban centres and the emergence of new urban centers in the areas of oil production. All past traditional styles had to be sacrificed in favor of the new stylistic drift. However, Saudi society revealed strong social resistance at the beginning and was committed to its traditional way of living, people at that time were very reactive against modernisation.

The introduction of some commercial buildings and apartment buildings in large cities central areas were necessary to accommodate foreign businessmen or contracted emplyees, for exampleArabian-American Oil Company (ARAMCO), which organised camps. The migration rates from villages to new growing cities were increasing and caused the growth of unplanned settlements (see figure 8a).

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Figure 8Unplanned Saudi Arabia settlements(a); and Barastis housing (b)

( http://www.catnaps.org/islamic/gulfarch3.html )

They were built with available scrap materials and cement blocks. They were known in the gulf region as Barastis (see figure 8b) and gradually grew with their owners’ socio-economic status. Generally, they were square or circular in plan with an internal court surrounded by a kitchen, a bedroom and sometimes with a space for visitors and other for animals, bathroom was usually located outside.

The new housing programmes were required to accommodate the migrants as well contemporary governmental and companies’ headquarters buildings.

4.2.3 Phase III: Phase of economic fluctuations and the beginning of planning (1951-1969)

King Saud succeeded his father in 1953 and worked on accelerating the modernisation in the region especially in Riyadh. Immigrant masses accumulated in the traditional and unplanned settlements causing poor and insufficient conditions that created more pressure to provide rapid solutions, which could not be achieved with the traditional building methods and techniques.

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Figure 9Villas constructed in 1950’s by the ARAMCO Home Ownership Program

(Al-Naim, 2008)

The government started building suburban housing projects for their employees, and developed more land. The land was divided into squares of 50´100 m or 50´50 m. They were purchased by citizens or granted by the government. The Government housing loan programme for Saudi employees was initiated in 1950. The change of use of public housing was prohibited by the authoritypreventing any act of building conversion or reuse.

The issuance of some building regulations to control building process were introduced in 1962, this included the house height, the square ratio and required set-backs and prohibited further land subdivision (Al Naim, 1998; Al Shiha et al, 2005). By the end of this phase the detachable and semi detachable villa type residence was broadly spreading in the main Saudi cities with its modern designs, layout, forms, and materials (Figure 9).

4.2.4 Phase IV: Phase of comprehensive planning from 1970

Saudi Arabia understood the importance of planning for development and the optimal utilisation of natural and human resources. Thus, since the early seventies, the Kingdom started issuing a series of Five Year Development Plans. Currently, fast industrial development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in accordance with the planning process, which plays a crucial role. The Ninth Development Plan (2010-2015) is being implemented at present.

Since the 1970s, with society welfare increasing via oil exports, the structure of the Saudi Family was shifting from large extended families to more independent nuclear form, affected by the rural-urban migration. In the same context, excessive consumption habits started. Consumerism had affected Saudi society in every living aspect; citizens chose to move from their small sized houses, which were homogenous with their local closed communities, to residing in more spacious subjective houses, disconnected from their neighbourhoods. State intervention involved the introduction of a variety of housing programmes, a provision of infrastructure, an expansion of land grants to citizens and involving the private sector in these projects.

However, the rising costs of construction, land and materials, with the shortage of labour, had affected the growth rates. As a result, user-initiated transformations and reusing of existed buildings to compensate for the emergent deficiencies appeared as a convenient and feasible solution. Housing in this period included villas, apartments, traditional mud houses, slums, and even tents. Municipality statutes has officially shifted the planning and designing of neighbourhoods’ from its users to the municipality. People’s reaction to this situation as Al-Naim, 1998 argued, “Was a very drastic alteration of those houses which were erected in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s”. Perhaps one of the clearest examples of such changes was the balconies. These balconies, which did not match with the Saudi family’s need for privacy or with the climate in Saudi Arabia, spread to all types of early modern housing, whether villas or apartments, from the 1950s until the 1980s. In some cases the balconies was closed and added to the residence rooms (see figure 10), or converted to a storing space.

The set-back law was adopted by Municipalities, which prevents the owner from building on more than 40% of his land area. To overcome this restriction, users created new and useful functions in these dead zones in order to fulfil their cultural demands. These were sometimes used by building Diwaniah (outside guest reception), driver’s room, dirty kitchens and so on. Homes in Makkah, constructed in different decades of last century, are shown in figure 10. Facades contain both traditional and modern elements (Al-Naim, 2008).

Generally, the basic problem of housing in the Gulf region does not lie in the need for shelter as much as the need to upgrade its physical and spatial environment. Investment in housing was the single largest category amounting to over 10% of the total investment. The plans also touched on the problem of sub-standard and deterioration of some housing stock both in rural and urban areas, and the need to develop a Saudi Building Code, and also to establish a reliable data on housing standards.

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Figure 10Homes in Makkah constructed in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, which contain traditional and modern elements

(Al-Naim, 2008)

As for the quality of housing, many studies by Saudi researchers have shown that solutions to housing schemes are detached from indigenous concepts. The middle and high-rise apartment buildings were relatively rare in the Saudi Arabia (Talib, 1984). In the early 1960’s apartment building activity boomed for housing Saudis as well as foreign workers. These new forms of housing were designed completely differently to the traditional patterns. Their design was often based on designs built elsewhere, or designed by architects who are not necessarily concerned with climatic or cultural contexts of the country. Although those designs are visually and technically impressive, they are designed with little sensitivity to the life styles and needs of their users (Huang, 1984).

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Figure 11Inter-relationship of household functions important for Gulf Arab housing design(Gulf Architecture, 2011)

Fadan (1983) argues that the decision taken in 1953 to transfer the government offices from Jeddah and Makkah to Riyadh created a demand for large housing schemes to accommodate the huge number of workers and government employees. In order to do so, and to build large scale housing projects to accommodate the incoming people to the new capital, the government decided to ease pressure on the local house-building industry. In reviewing the contemporary provisions of mass housing, one can see that the major role is played by the decision-makers, foreign architects, and foreign firms.

On the other hand, Bahammam, 1992 based on in-depth interviews with a number of residents and personal observation of their dwellings,states that the problem of housing in Saudi Arabia is: “based on an imported model that was not evolved according to the needs of residents nor developed from the traditional housing model”. He adds: “this model was introduced by the Arabian-American Oil Company, ARAMCO, and adopted as a model for contemporary housing. Since this model was originally developed for different occupancy, contemporary housing seems quite unlikely to meet the socio-cultural needs of the local residents”.

There are four essential kinds of space in Arabic traditional housing, both internal and external: private, semi-private, semi-public, and public. To provide a smooth transition between these zones is very important, but not explicit for all designers. The inter-relationship of household functions important for Arab housing design is shown in figure 11 (Gulf Architecture 2011).

4.3Housing types

In this partof the research,the study attempted toshedlight on themain typesofdwellingsused bythe populationin Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It found three forms ofhousing construction. Those are:

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Figure 12One of existing palaces in Saudi Arabia

(Al-Fakamh Palace – Riyadh)

Palaces

This type of housing is always located on large tracts of land where there is evidence of luxury living. Often the owners of this palace are rich people and holders of high positions (see figure 12).

Villas

This type of housing comes in second place and is more widespread in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There are several sizes of the villas, some of them are large (see figure 13) and there are small sized villas (see figure 14). Therefore, their prices range depending on the specifications and features of each.

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Figure 13One of the largest villas in Saudi Arabia (Al-Aziziyah district - Riyadh city)

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Figure 14Small villas in Saudi Arabia (hills district - Taif city)

Apartments

they are the most common form of housing in the cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. it can fit with all the spaces available inside or outside the city limits. Currently, after the style and development of this type now there are different sizes and shapes of flats. Furthermore, if the residents are analysed, they are from all strata of society and the reason is the difference in apartments costs.The prices are determined by several important characteristics such as city, location, structure and the available services (Figure 15).

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Figure 15 One of forms of apartments in Saudi Arabia

4.4 Tenure and the Land

In Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there are three direct ways to secure housing, whether vacant land for construction or ready residence. Those are:

New Seller

buy from the government or the previous owner of the vacant land to build a new house or buy a house that is already built to live in or make some changes to live. In some cases the real estate is for investment.

Rent

Rent from either the government or the owner. There is no law to lease vacant land to build new housing but there is a law that allows for the rental of vacant land for investment.

Infringement

It means that some people are taking over empty land to build on it without the permission of the competent authority and in this case the ruling is up to government.

4.5Housing System in Saudi Arabia

The population in urban areas of Saudi Arabia has been constantly growing throughout the last half century (see figure 16) in response to demands for workforce in industry and trading sector of the economy.

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Figure 16Population growth in urban areas of Saudi Arabia

To promote Saudi industry, including construction and concrete production plants, the Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC 2011) was established by Royal Decree in 1976 for long-range planning, investment, and use of public and private finances. To provide SABIC’s functioning in hydrocarbon, mineral-based, and other industries, Public Investment Fund gives long-term loans on highly concessional terms in addition to normal commercial loans. Based on these financial resources, SABIC undertakes industrial projects, which are considerably in excess of its own capital of SR10 billions. Public buildings construction projects have support from investment banks. Developing companies loaning is usually directed to the highly profitable area of business real estate, while public housing projects are of less interest.

In 1975, the Saudi Arabia government established the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Real Estate Development Fund (REDF) (Al-Naim, 1998) in order to control and manage the urbanisation process. The REDF provided zero-interest loans (up to $100,000) for 25 years. Loans were available to any married citizen, 18 years or older, or single and 21 years old or above (Mubarak 1999).

However, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing together with governmental agencies (for employees) provide only 1% and 7%, respectively, of total housing construction, while REDF finance is about 18% and self-financing is about 74% of total amount of public housing buildings.

AlDosary AS (2005) analysed the affordability of different kinds of housing, which are constructed in Saudi Arabia:

Detached villas

Popular among middle and high-income citizens; funded by REDF loans or personal savings.

Traditional attached houses

These are not very popular due to changing of demographic structure and life styles, especially among young citizens; funded mostly by collective family savings.

Apartments

These are built by government, developers; funded by government or privat companies.

Housing compounds

These are mostly privately owned by low-income citizens (expatriates); funded by private companies or ministries.

AlDosary AS (2005) also points out basic parameters influencing housing affordability for people:

i. Land cost;
ii. Labor and materials costs;
iii. Zoning ordinances and land use policies;
iv. Development and construction fees;
v. Building codes and standards;
vi. Taxes and finance credits;
vii. Community participation.

Funds borrowed for building homes are ussually used either to purchase land, on which the home will be constructed, to finance the actual construction costs, or both. Almutairi (2010) compared Islamic and conventional home financing in Kuwait in regards to client perceptions of the facilities offered by the National Bank of Kuwait and Kuwait Finance House as an example of an Islamic Bank. He showed that Islamic banks are successfully developing alternative methods for attracting and utilising funds, regardless of the fact that they are beginners in this field.

4.6 Housing Costs in Saudi Arabia

Housing is considered as affordable if its cost equal to or less than 30% of annual household income AlDosary AS (2005). For example, for $18,000 annual income ($1,500 monthly) affordable housing is below $450 monthly. The minimum wage is $5.15/hr ($10,712 annually). That makes housing rent affordable at $268/month or less. The average market rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $730/month. At $5.15/hour, a housholder has to work 109 hours per week or earn a minimum of $13.98/hour for a 40 hour week for a 2-bedroom apartment.

The Department of Housing and Urban development announced the Area Median Income (AMI = SR7000) with the corresponding income grading:

a. very-low income ‑ less than 50% AMI;
b. low income – less than 80% AMI;
c. moderate income – less than 120% AMI.

The cost of middle size habitats in housing compounds or appartments is equal to about 10-20 years of cumulative earnings for a 7000SR median household income. That is only available only to limited number of individuals. House Rent-to-Income Ratio in Arab cities is 45.4 and House Price to Income Ratio is 10.9. That is the poorest proportions among developing countries.

Data on housing rent and construction costs in Saudi Arabia shows that vast majority of households that have an average median monthly income about SR7000 or less, must spend much more than 30% of income for housing, hence, they require assistance.

The Ministry of Economy and Planning defined Strategic Priorities for Building and Construction Technology to solve key problems of Saudi citizens and reach goals set in the National Policy for Science and Technology (KAST 2011; MEP 2011):

1. Transfer, localize and develop feasible and cost effective building and construction technologies to improve quality of life.
2. Enhance the quality and productivity of research in strategic areas relevant to safety and long-term service life of the structures.
3. Develop sustainable, durable and environmental friendly structures based on latest research and technological advancements.
4. Encourage construction industry to have professionals who add value to the development of building and construction technologies.
5. Bridge the gap between end users, R&D organizations and private sector to generate new investment opportunities.
6. Involve stakeholder in action plan and decisions making.
7. Develop human resources – in numbers and calibre - to undertake these formidable tasks.

Previously, reinforced concrete was, unfortunately, used in the absence of unified local Building Code as well other construction procedures. Thus, a significant part of living and industrial structures were constructed in the absence of minimum safety rules, qualified supervision personnel, lack of unified design and clear inspection process, construction materials were with deviated engineering properties. Therefore, many of the existing houses are deteriorating rapidly now and some of them may not correspond to assigned service life and applied loading.

4.7 Housing Codes in Saudi Arabia

The Royal directive of 2002 plays an important role in the development and implementation of the Saudi Building Codes composed in accordance with the basic international codes such as IBC, EC, and NBC. Arab Codes and local researches were taken into account to reflect local specific features. The National Committee of the Saudi Building Code (NCSBC) was formed to carry out this work.

The members or workgroup chairman are from the following Saudi Arabia organizations: King Saud University (KSU), King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM); Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MMRA); Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJ &Y); Rashid Geotechnical and Material Engineers( RG&ME); Ministry of Interior – Directorate of Civil Defence (MOI-DCD); Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC). The overall framework of code committees includes Consultative Committee (CCSBC) and eight technical committees, including Structural Technical Committee (STC) and associated workgroups, which are shown in figure 17.

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Figure 17 Saudi Building Code (SBC) Committees

Although seismicity throughout the Saudi Arabia is far less than the seismicity in other regions of the world, this factor plays an important role in civil buildings construction and modifications. Original Building Codes were developed for USA; therefore, they required adaptation to local conditions.

Shuraim et al. (2007) described the development of seismic provisions in SBC 301 “Design Loads for Building and Structures”, which is one of the six structural Saudi Building Codes (SBC 301-306). The other Saudi Building Codes are the following:

- 201 Architectural;
- 301 Structural – Loading and Forces;
- 302 Structural – Testing and Inspection;
- 303 Structural – Soil and Foundations;
- 304 Structural – Concrete Structures;
- 305 Structural – Masonry Structures;
- 306 Structural – Steel Structures;
- 401 Electrical;
- 501 Mechanical;
- 601 Energy Conservation;
- 701 Sanitary;
- 801 Fire Protections;
- 901 Existing Buildings.

Adaptation of SBC included separation of one complex chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) document ASCE-7-02 (ASCE 2002) into eight chapters describing different systems and materials. For example, buildings, non-buildings, and nonstructural components were separated into different chapters. They are defined as: “Non-building structures including all self-supporting structures that carry gravity loads and that may be required to resist the effects of earthquake.” “Non-building structures supported by the earth or supported by other structures shall be designed and detailed to resist the minimum lateral forces specified in this chapter.” Provisions on existing buildings were separated from new buildings. Soil classification in Saudi Arabia was separated to a single document to be available for geotechnical engineers.

To understand seismic impacts effect on user-modified structures, an important characteristic is required, the fundamental period of building vibration (measured in seconds). This parameter is individual for every building and depends on the stiffness of the structural elements including bars, plates, and joints, its mass and total height. Building will cause resonance amplification of earthquake forces if periods of seismic waves coincide with its fundamental period. Usually, the main part of earthquake energy is contained in short-period waves. Therefore, short-period buildings (stiff) are able to restrain larger forces than long-period (flexible) buildings. When buildings are being designed, their weakest places are determined by the methods of modal analysis and structural mechanics (Berg, 1989).

The basic procedures and methods for loads estimation used in SBC 301 are the following: Index method, Simplified method, Equivalent Lateral Force Procedure, and Modal Analysis. However, such methods of structural mechanics, obviously, cannot be employed to calculate the vibration in case of user-initiated transformations of housings. Furthermore, in a regular original structure of a building, inelastic deformations produced by ground shocks are usually well distributed throughout the building. That produces a damping effect and energy dissipation. However, in irregular structures after their modifications, inelastic deformations can concentrate in the zone of irregularity, resulting in failures of structural elements and building collision. Stresses produced by modifications of the structure could not be accounted in design. In addition, coefficients of vibration amplification are dependent on modifications.

Alsayed et al. (2007) investigated the Saudi Building Code for Concrete Structures (SBC 304). This SBC is in full agreement with ISO 19338, which determines requirements for performance and assessment for design standards on structural concrete. This code contains guidelines for safe design and construction of concrete structures in Saudi Arabia. It is intended to reduce the large uncertainty in the determination of possible failures when concrete is subjected to specific loading and environmental conditions. SBC 304 is composed of many parts, chapters, and appendices. Its recent modifications are based on international standards and reflect different local conditions within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

These differences include:

i. Different soils available within the KSA territories;
ii. Hot dry and hot humid environmental conditions;
iii. Irregular slab system construction;
iv. Different yield stress of reinforcing steel;
v. Loading at different stages of construction; and
vi. Local seismic and wind loadings.

Hot weather is essential crucial issue for concreting planning in Saudi Arabia and is addressed in detail in SBC 304. “During hot weather conditions, proper attention shall be given to ingredients, production methods, handling, placing, protection, and curing to prevent excessive concrete temperatures or water evaporation that could impair required strength or serviceability of the member or structure.” The temperature of fresh concrete shall be kept as low as possible, but shall not exceed 35 °C at the time of placing. The construction activity should be carefully planned to avoid cold joints. Some of the measures may be employed to control concrete temperature. Concreting shall be done preferably early in the morning or late in the afternoon to provide the lowest ambient temperature. Re-tempering of concrete by the addition of water to compensate for loss of workability shall not be allowed.

Numerous other changes were introduced into the ACI 318 and implemented to make the SBC 304 more rational and applicable to the Saudi Arabia environment and construction practice. The code is not intended to regulate climes between the owner, engineer, architect, contractor, material suppliers, or testing agencies, because this document does not define the responsibility of each party in case of building failure or collision. Generally, the drawings, specifications, and contract documents should contain all of the necessary requirements to ensure compliance with the codes.

ACI Committee 318 (organised 1929) replaced ACI 318-02 and the corresponding commentary in the next editions of ACI 318-05, ACI 318-08. As of now, ACI 318-11 are under development. Hence, Saudi Building Codes require the following reworking and improvements as well to meet the strict demands of modern buildings construction.

Currently, different modern technologies of concrete reinforcement are implemented in Saudi Arabian plants. AlAmoudi et al. (2008) from the Al-Wataniya Concrete Corp. discuss issues of construction in hot weather regions Saudi Arabia. Such components as reinforcement fibres, chemical admixtures and superplasticisers are essential parts of modern concrete in production plants. Using liquid nitrogen (LN2) for concrete cooling, both in plant and on site, by injecting LN2 into freshly mixed concrete is the most advanced method to avoid water evaporation and concrete’s deterioration in physical properties. This method is approved by ACI 305R-20 “Hot Weather Concreting”. Concrete cooling by liquid nitrogen can reduce its temperature to 5°C or less regardless of the initial concrete or ambient temperature. At the same time, the performance of concrete is not affected by its exposure to liquid nitrogen.

Obviously, the aforementioned methods are not mostly available in habitats transformations by individual users or even small construction contractors. Therefore, housing adaptation still remains a serious problem not only for the exterior of buildings, but for living security of their owners and requires regulation. The full collapse of a concrete building occurred in Makkah on 5 January 2006. The four-storey 25 years old al-Najd hostel on al-Ghazal Street, only 60 m from the walls of the Sacred Mosque, had been used by foreign pilgrims. Reasons for such tragedy were not clearly discovered, but most likely wrong design and construction practice are the causes of this collapse.

Conclusion

This chapter reviewed what defines the exterior of the housing system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and this information is important as the introduction to the main issue for this research.Additionally, this chapter explained how the Saudi state passed through phases of development which affected the housing forms and materials that were used in each period. It has also clarifiedrelations of household functions which apply to allGulf countries. Finally, the research summarises some of the problemsas; users are not involved in the decision-making regarding the design of their housing units; solutions has disregard indigenous concepts of housing and living style of Saudi families; adoption of imported housing models, are not suitable for social norms and the environment of Saudi Arabia; the use of technologies and forms are alien to urban and rural patterns and there is total dependence on artificial environment, which consumes more energy.

Chapter-5 The Development of theKing Fahd Housing Project

5.1 Introduction

Historically, the south-western highlands are the coolest and best watered region of Saudi Arabia. Makkah is situated in the narrow, sandy Valley of Abraham. The land consists of rugged, rocky (predominantly granite) terrain, with mountain ranges on three sides (to the west, south and east). However, population density even in these regions and cities of Saudi Arabia is far lower (approximately 30 persons per square km) than in many western large countries (see figure 18) where it can be more by order. Nowadays, the Saudi population is growing rapidly with young people representing more than 60% of population, where an estimated; 73% of them live in urban areas. This chapter will reviews some of the literature dealing withMakkah city and the King Fahd housing project.

5.2Entrance to Makkah

Makkah city is the capital of the Makkah province of Saudi Arabia with a population of 1.7 million approximately (2008). The narrow valley where this city is located defined the directions of its contemporary urban development. The ambient temperatures are high in summer, between June and September, the average maximum is 43oC and absolute maximum is 51oC; in winter, between October and February, the average minimum temperature is 8oC and absolute minimum is -1oC. The daily temperature ranges frequently exceeds 20oC and because of clear skies, the level of radiation is very high. The thin not insulated precast panel wall, floors and roof systems used, are not suitable for such a climate. A typical view of public housing districts is shown infigure 18b.

An increase in family size can lead to minor changes such as adding extra rooms, while the desire to improve the economic status of the owner may involve converting the garage into a small grocery shop.Cities vary in location, size, historical roots, citizen demographics, economic base, and other features. This results in various priorities and needs of inhabitants and visitors. In Holy Makkah, the service to the pilgrims is the main challenge and pride of its Municipality. They have to provide the capacity to increase the number of pilgrims and at the same time to provide world class services to Holy Makkah citizens.

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Figure 18Map of the population density in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and typical view of the public habitats ( http://mappery.com/Saudi-Arabia-Population-Density-Map )

These issues were discussed in the recent the Intelligent Cities Conference (ICC‑2009) which addressed vital issues of policy, planning, and implementation. This event was organised under the patronage of His Royal Highness (HRH) Khalid Al Faisal Al Saud, the Governor of Makkah Region. However, the main focus was on information technology (IT) solutions applicable to the special needs of communication, control, and resources logistics in Holy Makkah during Hajj (Albar, 2009).

In accordance with Municipality regulations, the owner or the tenant of the building being proposed for pilgrims in Makkah should be responsible for cleaning, maintenance, electricity,elevator and safety systems. The landlord has to bring drawings from an engineer’s office showing the area and dimensions of rooms on each floor to obtain approval for housing.

The building owner or the tenant should provide potable water and have a specialised company clean the ground and roof reservoirs. The area for each pilgrim should be 1´2.5 meters. Halls, kitchens, and corridors should not be used for pilgrims’ housing. Each room should have an air-conditioner and one fan and a sign showing the direction of Qibla. Building owners who rent their buildings to pilgrims and who have wooden, American-made steel, and aluminium structures should remove such materials inside or outside their buildings immediately. Non-Saudi brokers living in Makkah are not allowed to work in the field of pilgrims and Umrah visitors housing (Holy Makkah Municipality 2010).

The Division of Environmental Control of Holy Makkah Municipality supervises the following regulations related to personal housing. They have to report buildings that have an inappropriate colour of facades; report anyone who cuts down trees in front of his house or his business store.

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Figure 19Hajj 2006 in Masjid al-Haram with an overall view of the city

(a); and the King Fahd housing project with Sacred Mosque on the Makkah map (b) ( http://www.islamicinformation.net/2008/06/beautiful-makkah-pictures.html )

Makkah is regarded as the holiest city in Islam (Nasr, 2005). Every year more than 13 million Muslims visit Makkah annually, including several million who perform the Hajj (pilgrimage). As a result, Makkah, as well the Madina (Al-Madinah), has become one of the holiest cities in the Muslim world.

Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and the Chairman of the Hajj Supreme Committee, said that 1,799,601 pilgrims from 181 countries officially arrived in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj in 2010 (RESA 2010). That is 180,746 more than in previous year (see figure 19a with the Hajj 2006 view).

Although non-Muslims are prohibited from entering the city, the trend for Hajj visitors increasing has remained throughout the last decades (Peters, 1994). This factor leads to not and industrial, but a service oriented development of city infrastructure. The annual income from the pilgrimage is about $100 million. To allow more Muslims to attend this city, many old habitats were removed from the central part around the Masjid al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque). The Gulf Institute in Washington (USA) estimates that 95% of millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades (Howden, 2005).

The reason for such a global destruction of historic buildings was the construction of hotels, apartments, parking, and other infrastructure facilities for Hajj pilgrims. Many housing projects were also initiated in different central and suburban regions. The King Fahd housing project is among them (see figure 19b). Other improvements resulted from King Fahd’s 1988 initiative, the third Saudi expansion of the Sacred Mosque in Holy Makkah, have included a newly laid drainage system, because flooding and drainage problems have been inherited by the holy city since the pre-Islamic period.

5.3King Fahd Housing Project

The King Fahd housing project (study area) is located between many residential areas and they have several different styles and forms, including regular and random planning as can be seen in figure 20.

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Figure 20Areas surrounding the location of the study

This project has been designed and developed by the minstery of housing in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and they decided to divide the work on this project into two main stages where the first stage involved the building of 1446 villas and the second phase will include building 1136 villas. The total area of site ​​study (King Fahd housing project) is approximately 260 hectares (see figure 21a). This case study was selected because it is considerd as one of the largest housing projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is located in an important city, Makkah.

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Figure 21location of units for two stages of the project

(a); typical housing layout (b); and current aerial view of units with user-initiated transformations (c)

Each unit in this district contains only one floor and component from (three bedrooms, two sitting rooms, living room, a kitchen and three bathrooms). In addition, there is an outdoor courtyard around the villa on three sides. The unit also contains an upper surface and it is ready to add another floor to (see figure 21b).

The general form of the scheme of the King Fahd housing project is of the network planning type. The residential neighbourhoods are spread throughout the district in a U-shapeand L-shape (see figure 21c).

In any residential project there are some basic services that are available with it. The King Fahd housing project (First Step) consists of many elements (Table 1).

Table 1Elements of the project and the areas

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Source: Report of the Institute of Public Administration 2001 - Engineer M. Zafar.

From the previous table we can note that the percentage of space which is for residential units (villas) is less than half total area of district. Therefore the population density is low in the region.

The study displays the elements of the King Fahd housing project which are in (table 2)in more detail on the map in figure 22.

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Figure 22Land use at King Fahd housing project

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Figure 23Infrastructure maps at King Fahd housing project

(Report of the Institute of Public Administration 2001 - Engineer M. Zafar)

5.4 The Infrastructure of King Fahd Housing Project

Infrastructure is the basic structure or composition that may be built above or below ground. It is a description of the services and basic utilities which are needed by the population to live in their homes, such as transport, telecommunications, sewage system, and water supply.

The King Fahd Housing project is considered to be one of the excellent housing projects in Makkah because it is equipped with all services which are needed by the population, while at the same time there are a lot of districts that lack similar services. The maps in figure 23describe the extensions that are linked to each housing unit.

5.5 The Carrying Capacity of the Building

Through the collection of information and communication with the engineers and supervisors who are responsible for the King Fahd housing project, the study found that when the designers designed the residential units, they put into consideration the possible expansion by the owners for their units in building another floor reaching the maximum limit that is two floors for the building.

For further clarification the research has included a perspective of the shape of the building after the addition of the second floor (see figure 24).

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Figure 24Perceptionallowed forthe houseafter the construction ofthe second round

(Report of the Institute of Public Administration 2001 - Engineer M. Zafar)

Conclusion

This chapter reviewed informationregarding Makkah city and the King Fahd Housing Project (case study) and displayed many maps which define and clarify the location.The study also reviewed the division of space within the district to include the divisions of the dwelling unit. In the same context, it displayed the land use and the infrastructure services in the district. Moreover it was concluded that the designer of this project set the laws and regulations for the increases in the area of the housing units and the changes that the owner or tenant can do but the problem is when the residents exceed what is allowed.

Chapter-6 Examination of the Transformation Analysis and the Reasonsfor the King Fahd Scheme

6.1 Introduction

Residents began to move and live in the area of King Fahd thirteen years ago. Then they started tomake some changes or adjustments to their housing units to be able to adapt and live in them. This was expected and that is the reason forthe government setting the building codes for the district which allows residents to make changes to their housing units after obtaining the permission from the competent authority.However,there are limits to the changes andsome residents havemade changes which transcend the systems and what is allowed.

In this chapter, the research studies and examines the changes whichhave been made by the residents through an inventory and it identifies the types of modifications and then establishes the reasons for the amendments and what the circumstances surrounding these changes were.

The research determines the changes which have been made by the residents in the previous years and the reasons that led to them. The study conducted a field survey and visual surveys through designing a special questionnaire for this phase (included in the appendices). This chapter reviews all the information whichwas covered by the survey to obtain the results and analyse them.

6.2 Field Survey

The researcher divided the King Fahd Housing Project into three sections and then chose one of them to complete the field surveys and visual surveys. The researcher selectedthis section because it presents theother sections (see figure 25 and figure 26).

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Figure 25The area which is chosen in the survey

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Figure 26The area which is chosen in the survey with villa numbers

6.2.1TheSamples

The total number ofhouses thatthe government hasbuiltand soldin the first stageis1446 house. The builtarea was divided into three spots, and the first section was selected for the field survey to be conducted on. That means the total numberof houses whichwere included in the survey study was 320 houses however thirteen houses were not included in the survey because there was no response from residents. Thus, this study was only based on 307 units.

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Figure 27The Pie Chart of the buildings that have been changed

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Figure 28The buildings have been changed and fined

It has been found that, around 58% of the houses were modified and changed to meet the residents’ needs, but 25% of these units arenot legally acceptable since they have not met the legal standard requirements for these changes this is shown in figure 28.

6.2.2Household Characteristics

It can be seen from the tenure pie chart, most of the residentshaveobtained their homes by grants from the government. That is because they are on low-incomesand they presented a request to the Ministry of Housing to receive this grant while there are about 23%who bought their homes and around 8% of the residents are renting.

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Figure 29The Tenure Pie Chart

From the analysis of informationobtained from the field survey, the study found that there are about 80% who are nuclear families (father mother and children) living in the district while the others are extended families.In addition, most of householders who live in the district are between 30 to 45 years old. Around ten percent of the house holders were found to be 45 years old (see figure30).

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Figure 30The Pie Chart shows the ages of the head of the household

Most of the families who are in the district have a monthly income ranging from 7100 to 9000 SR (£1050 to £1500) which is considered a middle-income. However, there nearly six percent of families have monthly income of less than 7000 SR which is considered a low-income(see figure 31).It was also found that, there are more than 15% of families receiving a monthly income of more than 9,000 Saudi riyals and this is one of the important reasons for the transformations.

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Figure 31The monthly income for households

After reviewing the statistics of the population of Makkah city, the research found that the average number of family members in the city in 2009 is 5.6 people. From that the research tried to compare this number with the new number which is the result from the process of the field survey and analysis. It found that the average number of family members in the district rose to 5.9. Moreover, it found some important statistics that must be taken into consideration when any decisions regarding the region in planning terms as can be seen in the following table.

Table 2 Household Size

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6.2.3 Addition of Floor Space

From the collection of data, the study has established the number of those who have increased interior spaces in their housing units through the addition of a floor or two floors for the unit as shown by the chart in figure 35,which illustrates the ratio percentages for each group. Where the study found that nearly half of families in the district have built extra space, some of them added a floor and some of them added two floors.

It was found that, there are some families who had to add new floors to their homes. The percentage of families who had to add a full floor are approximately 39%, while those who had to add two floors are about 10%.The study also identified that the original area of the building is about 270 square metres and the total land area is about 400 square meters. It turned out that adding one floor means adding an area of ​​270 square meters to the original area, and adding two floors means adding 540 square meters.

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Figure 32Pie Chart of Addition area

On the other hand, there are about fifty percent of the owners of residential units who did not add any spaces to their homes. However, this does not mean they did not make any modifications.There is the possibility of making other modifications such as changing the internal design of the house.

The research has made a simple comparison and explained the relationship between the income of each family in the region and the number of added floors to their homes which is clear in the following table (table 3).

Table 3Cross tabulation between income and added floors

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It has also made a comparison between the ages of household heads in the district and the number of added floors to their homes (see table 4).

Table 4: Cross tabulation between ages and added floors

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A relationship between the tenure and the number of added floors was found as can be seen in table 5.

Table 5Cross tabulation between tenure and added floors

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6.2.4 Types of Transformation

After completingthe data collectionprocessfrom the literature reviewand field survey, the study counted the modifications that the residentsmade or some of them and it identified ten changes, those are:

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The majority of the residents modified their houses by adding an extra room for the guard or the driver to live in. Some of them also increased the kitchen space (see figure 32).Bybearing in mind Saudiregulations, where women are not allowed to drive cars, most families need to have a room for drivers. Because the family in Saudi Arabia is a large family, they have big kitchens in their houses. As it can be seen in figure 33, if there is space available behind the building, theyexploit the available area.

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Figure 33Bar chart of the types of transformation

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Figure 34A map showing the empty space behind the kitchen

6.2.5 Reasons forTransformation

In the previous phase, the research collected types of modifications which the residents made in the district (case study) also it provides some opinions and analysis for these amendments. While at this stage the research will identify the real and strong causes that led to the occurrence of such amendments. The research found from the data collection process the following reasons (see figure 34).

i. The need for additional space
ii. Personalisation of exterior shape
iii. Personalisation of the interior design

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Figure 35Bar chart of reasons for transformation

In the same way, the research tried to display some of secondary causes that were found in the investigation into the reasons for the amendments as can be seen in figure 34.

i. Extension for investment
ii. Desire to change land use
iii. More security for increasing boundary height

6.3Visual Survey

The study has identified the most important factors that affect the area from a visual perspective. Then it tried to examine each factor separately to see how these affect them. These factors are

i. The Form of Buildings
ii. The Streets
iii. Landscaping and Open Areas
iv. Visual Perception
v. The Aesthetical Values

6.3.1Buildings forms

The executing agencyfor King Fahd Housing Project has built on a floor for each unit and madea single interfacefor allunits inthe district as can see in figure 36, whilesomeresidents or householdershavechangedthe forms andfacadesof buildingsaccording to their needsand their sense ofbeauty (see figure 37).

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Figure 36The original design for the units

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Figure 37The designs after user initiated change

These changes which were created by the residents at the interfaces of buildings have changed the general shape in the district that was decided in the first design of the residential units. However, from the perspective of urban design, these changes will be good change for the area.

6.3.2 The Streets

In the King Fahd housing project, the designers adopted the design of the street onthe network planning, where the streets are characterised by different forms and different lengths.It also takes a hierarchical approach and blocked roads in the planning and this is reflected in the following figures.

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Figure 38The types of roads

Furthermore, parking is available in the district in front of all housing units and buildings of public services as seen in figure 39.

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Figure 39Images showing the car parking spaces

6.3.3 Landscapingand Open Areas

The district has a full landscaping, whether in the islands which are in the middle of the streets or on the edges of the housing units. It also features several other services such as sidewalks, pedestrian paths and open areas that serve the community. The study noted that the residents also have a role in decorating and landscaping the streets in front of their homes.

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Figure 40Landscaping in the district

6.3.4 VisualPerception

The residential units in the area before the modifications by the residents were described as being monotonous and repetitious. However, after the residents made the amendments and changedthe forms of buildings, it has become visually more pleasing for residents or visitors. This is shown clearly in the next image in figures 41 and 42.

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Figure 41Visualperception before changes

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Figure 42Visualperception after changes

6.3.5 The Aesthetical Values

Features in this district provide aesthetic values and areas allocated to them as they spread across the residential units but the study noted that the region needs additional landmarks and more aesthetic values by implementing different sizes and forms to distinguish the residential neighbourhoods from the others.

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Figure 43Values ofbeauty

However the existing services in the district helped to distinguish between the areas. Furthermore, some of the amendments which had been made by the residents also helped.

Conclusion

After the research has been conducted from the field survey and visual survey italso analysed allthe datacollected from all other sources, it identified some important results and notes that did not appear during the process of gathering information: It was observed that all owners of residentialunits were Saudi nationals and it is normal situation with the Saudi system because there are some conditions for foreign ownership.

King Fahd Housing Project has a target wasto accommodate 7000 people while9000 people are residing there at present. The study finds that there are more amendments which were identifiedafter the completion of the surveys such as: some residents in the district have built balconies in the additional floors; a few residents have built a driver's room or guard roomoutside the boundaries of the unit; some minor adjustments were also noted like desire for western-style housing having balconies in the villa or building; safety needs has driven residents to construct high boundary walls;it was found that, richer and older residents tend to make major changes than the relatively low-income ones and the younger ones.

Residents who bought their houses made more changes than who were granted and residents who rented made very little changes to the house. It was noted that, after obtaining a permit to carry out the amendments which they wanted from government agencies, there is no control organisation to oversee these amendments. This allows for some residents or owners of the unit to exceed the modifications which are allowed in the permit.

However, at the completion of an amendment, the owner of the unit needs to deliver some services to additional areas such as electricity. Therefore, one of the responsible government agencies will come to check the amendments and then will provide a permit for the services or if thechanges conflict with the systems will either remove them or fine the resident.

Chapter-7 >Conclusions and Recommendations

7.1Conclusions

Based on the research the following main ideas can be formulated in relation to user-initiated transformation of dwellings and the King Fahd housing project in Makkah(case study).

National identity and home environment are the two major concepts that have been identified as the key factors affecting dwelling's transformations in Muslim cities. While identity is a very subjective phenomenon, home has both subjective and objective aspects. The objective aspects of home deal with spatial characteristics and useful living area, while the subjective aspects are related to the psychological needs of inhabitants and conveniences of homes. Identity in this sense represents clearly the psychological side of home and motivates home making process.

Economic growth and the accumulation of large numbers of skilled and unskilled workers with different levels of income cause an increasing demand in public housing. It is necessarily to build quickly and with high quality in accordance with Saudi Building Codes and foreign standards. However, private financial resources are mostly directed to highly profitable cost real estate sector. In this situation, dwelling transformations are the only cheap way to accommodate more people within the existing area.

The specific role of Holy Makkah and annual 10 percent growth of pilgrimshave caused further expansion from the central part of the city to suburban regions where strict regulations for housing planning and use are required. Building owners and tenants strive to increase area of dwellings to provide housing services to more pilgrims. However, the corresponding quality of services should be under strict control of Makkah Municipality.

The sustainable development of Saudi Arabia construction industry requires further adaptation of Building Codes to local conditions. Hot weather implies strict limits on concrete structures building procedures. Their violation leads to intensive deterioration of building and possible collisions. Spatial characteristics of detached villas, apartments in multi-stairs building, and houses in compounds have to be adapted in accordance with design principles of traditional Islam architecture.

Governmental efforts in public housing should rely on new land granting procedures, loaning schemes, and diversified financial resources, for example Islamic banks to provide affordable housing for the majority of employees on low and middle income.

From the results of the surveys, the study found that after obtaining a permit to carry out the amendments that they want from professional government agencies, there is no control organisation to oversee these amendments. This allows for some residents or owners of the unit to exceed the modifications which are allowed in the permit. However, at the completion of an amendment, the owner of the unit needs to deliver some services to additional areas such as electricity. Therefore, a government agencycomes to review the amendments, and then if it adheres to the regulations a permit will be given for the services or if it is in conflict with the regulations the changes are either removed or the owners fined.

The infrastructure of the King Fahd housing project includes all required elements and suggests high quality municipal services. However, frequently observed user-initiated modifications were necessary to satisfy users’ needs in a traditional home environment.

The main user-initiated modifications within the King Fahd housing project included the following:

i. Addition of a whole floor
ii. Addition of two whole floors
iii. Addition of annexes
iv. Addition of a guard room
v. Enlargement of the kitchen
vi. Increasing boundary height
vii. Change of external finishing
viii. Addition of a lift
ix. Addition of a new use
x. Change of a use

The main reasons for changes that occurred in the King Fahd housing project are:

i. The need for additional space
ii. Personalization of exterior shape
iii. Personalization of the interior design
iv. Extension for investment
v. Desire to change of land use
vi. More security for Increasing boundary height

Some of the amendments that were made by the residents were in conflict with the rules and regulations of the region or district, whether urbanizing or civilization. But the others modifications are available by obtain permission.

It was found that, the richer and the older residents tend to make major changes than the relatively low-income ones and the younger ones. In the other hand, the residents who bought their houses made more changes than who were granted and residents who rented made very little changes to the houses.

Recently,and with the forms of developments in the world such as soft loans by banksand other financing methods, the study found that the low-income population can make the modifications that suit them in their homes by resorting to one of the available sources of funding. The research devised that by the results of the analysis, which said that most of the population incomes ranging between 9-11 thousand Saudi Riyals, and that after thirteen years of people moving to the area.

7.2 Recommendations

After reading the regulations concerning housing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and after studying the examples and the case study whichwas chosen for the research, the Ministry of Housing in Saudi Arabia is recommended to review and update these laws especially the methods of selectingresidents who need to this type of housing and to identify their real housing needs.

The studyfound that not all amendments which have been made ​​by the residents are considered a violation of laws or regulations or as subversive of the general form. However, there are some amendments that are in the interest of the residential area from the overall perspective. It can be seen clearly in the case study (King Fahd housing project), where some external modifications have helped to lift the state of boredom which was at the interface of residential units.

The study would like to suggest some solutions to the issue of research or the present problem which is in the case study (King Fahd housing project) as follows

The first proposal

Allowing residents to do what they want and open the field of development and changes their homes to suit them after the provision of general conditions regarding the resident area, such as

i. The modifications do not affect the fundamentals of any dwelling
ii. The neighbours are not affected by the amendment of static addition
iii. The built environment dose not deteriorate as result
iv. The changes do not produce any contamination

The second proposal

It is difficultto decide whether the violator should remove the extra spaces or be fined. However, this is not sufficient from the viewpoint of the search. It is suggested that errors should be prevented before they occur by assigning an official, whether government agencies or private actors to censor all the existing projects in the district where there are offices to provide daily field trips for projects.

Moreover, the residentsshould commit to the plan which has been made by the government and the developers for expansion and modification. They must also comply with the conditions of the residential area.

Finally, the first solution is not recommended by the study because it will change the character which has been drawn by the designers for this region and after the passage of time, the increases in population that have not been calculated may cause a lack of efficiency in services available to the population. Therefore, the government needs more money to modify the infrastructure. While the study preferred the second solution because it allows adjustment to the population in their existing homes by the system and will keep the same character of the district and will not cost the government money to modify the infrastructure.

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Details

Pages
82
Year
2011
ISBN (Book)
9783656869238
File size
9.2 MB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v286567
Institution / College
Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh – School of Built Environment
Grade
A
Tags
user-initiated transformations public housing case study king fahd project makkah kingdom saudi arabia

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Title: User-Initiated Transformations of Public Housing