Socio-cultural contradictions in the Arab-Islam built-environment : the case of Arriyadh City
Since the beginning of this century, inacculturation which is the full acceptance of foreign ideas and concepts, have produced a negative impact on the Arab/Islamic socio-cultural milieu. Instead of the synthesised approach to the transfer of ideas and concepts or in another word acculturation the inacculturation approach resulted on many socio-cultural contradictions on the Arab/Islamic built environment. Every built-environment consists of distinctive features that relates to social, cultural, economical and environmental parameters inherent in that particular built-environment. Before the 1950s, the built-environments of the country of Saudi Arabia were a natural continuation of city-building techniques throughout history. The most significant period that affected that urban continuity was the advent of the religion of Islam. However, since the 1950s, fast and dramatic changes had occurred in the built-environment that had affected it in social and cultural terms. These urban changes were not synthesised with the socio-cultural norms and ways of life of the residents of these built-environments. In another word, the process of urban inacculturation instead of acculturation had been taking place in the urban spatial structures of the country’s cities and towns. This study attempts to understand and explain the process of urban change that had occured since the 1950s. The city of Arriyadh was chosen for an in-depth investigation as a case study for this research. The case study approach starts by analysing the city urban development from the traditional to the contemporary. Then, using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, it examines the socio-cultural contradictions, urban identity and perceptions of the built-environment. The study reveals that the traditional built-environment had less socio-cultural contradictions, clear urban identity and perceived in positive terms. While the contemporary built environment resulted in socio-cultural contradictions, and ambiguous and distorted urban identity and perceived as containing negative social, cultural, and environmental and economical handicaps.