The failure of vernacular housing policy and design in Egypt : the case of Nubia
In the developing countries, it has been argued that most vernacular settlements are unsatisfactory for many reasons, one of them is the way in which the culture of the people is disregarded. Therefore, it is the objective of this research to find a relevant social scientific approach to the design of houses in these areas, with special reference to the Nubian settlement in Egypt. This study attempts to delineate the development of cultural influences on housing needs which affect the life of the Nubian people. A general view of the various problems in the developing countries that have affected house design is outlined. This is discussed in connection with the problems of contemporary vernacular houses in Egypt in order to reveal the reasons and causes that led to the establishment of new settlement in particular. Some steps towards identifying significant morphological factors in an Egyptian Nubian community are examined and the empirical task has been to establish why the Government house design falls short of the needs of the Nubian settlers. The case of the village of Kom-Ombo is examined as an example and comparison of the four case studies groups that were found there was used to help analyse the satisfaction results. In doing so, a field study was undertaken to compare Government with self-built houses that have been built in the present site and homeland. The field study was accomplished using interviews to explore and investigate the Nubians' socio-economical and psychological needs that consequently led them to abandon their Government houses and build more satisfactory ones back in the homeland. The conclusions drawn from these studies could be used to recommend a design approach to Government architects based on the concept of how the people settle down to help build their own houses collaboratively. This, however, is not intended to be an ultimate solution but merely an example of the results that could be attained using a methodological objective. The above approach is to emphasise rather than achieve conceptual (alternative) optimum solutions, since every project must develop its own solutions according to its own needs.