How Could Urban Planners Contribute to Social Cohesion in Cities?

While most of the implemented programmes that promote social cohesion are based on people’s ideology, perceptions, and social behaviours, the impact of the physical built environment, that hosts people’s lives and their social interactions, remains less tackled. In the context of urban planning, to what extent do our cities affect the advancement of social cohesion of communities? And could elusive and complex social concepts – like social cohesion – be tackled in a practical spatial planning approach that yields concrete actions? The fostering of social cohesion gained intensive focus in the literature of urban planning and sustainable development studies, especially … Continue reading

Energy-efficient Building Envelopes in Oman – A Study

In Oman, extreme hot weather conditions and thermally inefficient building envelopes have led to high cooling loads in residential units. Residential buildings serve a smaller number of occupants per unit, when compared to other sectors in the building industry. Also, mechanical, electrical and other energy-intensive equipment are relatively lesser in quantity and complexity. Yet, as per statistics, the residential sector is the largest consumer of electricity in the industry. In Oman, the residential sector consumes most of the electricity produced, with over 70 % of the load contributed by cooling using air conditioners (Zurigat et al., 2003). A major reason … Continue reading

All About Building a Net Zero Home

It doesn’t matter where in the world you live, the time has come to realize the importance of building homes that use zero energy. You don’t even have to believe in catastrophic global warming to realize the financial, comfort, and environmental benefits of net-zero homes. But first, you need to have an understanding of net-zero and zero-carbon buildings and their implications for us all, as well as the elements and features that need to be incorporated into a net-zero home. Net-Zero Homes and Energy Efficiency You could say that a net-zero or zero-energy home represents the best in energy efficiency. … Continue reading

Green Building Sector in the Middle East: Sustainability Perspectives

Green buildings are no longer a marginal concept but are becoming the standard for sustainable building construction and modernization in the Middle East. Forward thinking organizations can realize the benefits of being environmentally aware of the impact of each and every action undertaken in the present world of development. It is no longer about the financial bottom line and whether we are eco-friendly, it is a fundamental component of sustainability. Institutes and organizations in the Middle East can embrace green building initiatives as a mandate, while educational institutes can embrace it as a good citizen initiative developing the minds of … Continue reading

Blue Roads in Doha: An Innovative Way to Combat Rising Temperatures

The streets of Abdullah Bin Jassim near the iconic Souq Waqif in Doha were painted blue recently as part of a pilot project to reduce the effects of extreme heat in the city. By reflecting the heat instead of absorbing it, the blue-coated asphalt roads will support Qatar’s battle to combat the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI). Image Source: The Peninsula (2019) Blue road project to bring temperature down What is UHI? With 55 per cent of the world’s population currently living in urban areas, cities struggle to meet their overflowing capacity resulting in a dense network of high-rise buildings, … Continue reading

World Habitat Day 2017: Affordable Homes

World Habitat Day, observed every year on the first Monday of October, is meant to reflect on the state of our urban areas and the basic human right regarding provision of adequate shelter to all human beings. World Habitat Day (WHD) also aims to remind the planners and government officials of the collective responsibility for the habitat of future generations and a day to encourage grassroots action from civil society organizations to advocate for universal decent housing. Each year, World Habitat Day takes on a new theme chosen by the United Nations based on current issues relevant to the Habitat … Continue reading

نصائح لتحسين جودة الهواء في الأماكن المغلقة

يعتبر تلوث الهواء في الأماكن المغلقة واحدا من أكبر المخاطر على الصحة العامة في جميع أنحاء العالم بسبب تزايد عدد الأمراض المرتبطة بالمباني. وجدت الدراسات أن تركيز الملوثات في الأماكن المغلقة هو أعلى بكثير في الداخل مما هي عليه في المناطق المفتوحة (الخارجية)، وتقارب النسبة مرتين إلى خمس مرات وفي بعض الأحيان مئة مرة أعلى من المستويات في المناطق المفتوحة (الخارجية). وبما أن معظم الناس يقضون 80٪ – 90٪ من حياتهم في الأماكن المغلقة، فإن جودة  الهواء في الأماكن المغلقة لها تأثير كبير على الاستدامة. يؤثر انخفاض جودة الهواء في الأماكن المغلقة على نوعية حياة السكان في المباني، ويؤدي إلى … Continue reading

Advantages of Engineered Wood Flooring Over Solid Wood Flooring

Engineered wood has swiftly emerged a preferred choice for flooring in homes and commercial buildings. It is manufactured from a wide range of wood products by binding or fixing the fibres or veneers or boards of wood to form composite materials. Due to its unique natural look and easy installation, engineered wood is getting increasing popularity worldwide as a sustainable flooring option. Engineered wood flooring is generally available in fixed lengths, but it comes in different thicknesses ranging from 12.5mm to 22mm. An important quality of engineered hardwood flooring is its dimensional stability which makes it possible to be glued using flexible flooring adhesive, … Continue reading

How Green Can A Condo Be

Condo living is becoming a more popular and viable option with regard to residency as more and more people are now moving closer to cities for business and career opportunities. Condominiums offer sufficient space for living and close proximity to leisure establishments as well as the central business district. However, living in the city should not detach residents from the larger society and nature. How green can a condo be? Read ahead for tips to ensure greener living in a condo. Gardening Gardens are serene and relaxing. They are also good for the environment. Many will say space in condos … Continue reading

How to Protect Green Spaces in Middle East

One of the ecological benefits brought by green spaces is its capability to combat urban heat. The increasing urban heat is usually caused by the high number of heat reflective substances that are emerging in the cities. Green spaces such as gardens and parks can significantly reduce heat and promote natural cooling through an efficient ventilation and dynamic absorption. Some green spaces could even help prevent urban flooding, air pollution, and storm water run-off. So, how can we protect these beneficial green spaces in Middle East? Spread Awareness Dubai is expected to plant an estimated of 50 million flowers in … Continue reading

7 Ways Of Reducing Heating And Cooling Costs At Your Home

Did you know that your AC can increase your home’s energy consumption by nearly 50%? And are you aware that you can lessen the impact of the air conditioner by doing some major or minor changes in and around the home? You can achieve reduce heating and cooling expenses at your home by following these seven steps: Invest in a Programmable Thermostat When it comes to saving money when trying to heat and cool your home, you will benefit more from investing in a programmable thermostat. It is not uncommon to forget turning off the system or set the temperature … Continue reading

Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems in Middle East: Benefits and Opportunities

With changing weather patterns of frequent and intense rainfall, regions in the Middle East are struggling to cope with the influx of rain and stormwater runoff that often flood roads and residential areas. While a good network of surface drainage systems enforced with concrete, pipes and manholes may alleviate the situation, city planners can now adopt the use of more sustainable and environmentally beneficial methods to decrease urban flooding in the Middle East. This technique of utilising natural drainage systems to improve water management is also referred to as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). Different types of SuDS: Detention ponds, green … Continue reading