The dilemma of residential compounds design in Egypt

Author's Department

Architecture Department

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

International Journal for Housing Science and Its Applications

Publication Date



Copyright © 2014 IAHS. This paper aims at identifying the socio-cultural factors that are behind users' preferences in new residential developments in Egypt. It addresses an important social and economic problem related to the large amount of investment in these developments. An exploratory study was conducted to investigate why most users make substantial changes in the design and finishes, resulting in a huge waste of resources. The reasons behind users choices and preferences in housing design in these developments are outlined and a comparative analysis between high-income class users and lower income class in other housing projects is performed in order to identify a trend based on cultural ideals. The hypothesis of the research states that 'Each socio-economic class has common requirements that form a trend in preferences of house components'. A brief description of the housing problem in Egypt is presented along with the different solutions that the government in cooperation with the private sector sought. A description of the current income class categories of the society is reviewed in terms of origin and sociological ideals and cultural transformations. A field survey is conducted where characteristics and uses of different internal layout of house components in residential projects around Cairo area are discussed and identified in order to identify users preferences. Research results on lower income class groups showed that users prefer to maintain the same basic trend in the use of the household components in spite of their limited resources, in a similar way as upper income groups; which challenges the hypothesis posed by the research.

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