Low income housing in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates
The provision of houses for the tribal society in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi constitutes a major problem which greatly aggravates the housing problem in general. The major cause of this problem is that the designers of housing schemes have no sufficient understanding of the tribal traditions and requirements, necessary to provide the local people with convenient dwelling units that correspond with their social behaviour pattern. Ever since oil was discovered in Abu Dhabi, the government has developed an ambitious housing policy to serve the provision of local people with houses. The policy has been carried out for the last 25 years, where the government decided to :- 1. design convenient dwelling units for the local people; 2. plan new neighbourhoods and supply them with a sufficient infrastructure; 3. construct the dwelling units and maintain them once the local people have become their legal owners. The objectives of this policy were to provide the proper environment for the local people. There has been a great change in the design of housing schemes ever since this policy started. A number of foreign architects were involved in the development of a variety of low cost housing types, and inevitably their different cultural backgrounds influenced the design solutions. Many of their schemes use layouts and construction systems which contradict local bahaviour patterns and climatic conditions. During this period of 25 years Abu Dhabi has developed extensive experience in the field of housing but it is not always positive. This experience is worth registering, analysing and evaluating.