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Advancing Smartness of Traditional Settlements-Case Analysis of Indian and Arab old cities


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The study aims to investigate the concept of Smart Sustainable Cities in traditionally planned and organically grown settlements. Smart Cities Mission is an ambitious project of Government of India targeting 100 cities for improving their urban quality of life. However, there is no universally accepted definition of smart cities because of its vast and vague scope. In such a situation, it becomes important to understand where our old cities stand in terms of smart sustainability and inclusiveness. The methodological approach adopts case analysis of old Indian cities and Arab cities in terms of their environmental, economic and social planning paradigms. These include land use mix, compact development, dwelling density, internal and external connectivity, open spaces, walkable neighbourhoods, access to social services, collective cohesiveness, local area governance, crime & safety, economic diversification and socio-cultural diversity. The study enlists smart urban elements in our existing old cities, which are derived from extensive literature study of Middle East cities and primary surveys of around 160 samples in a medium sized old Indian city in Rajasthan. The study assesses the baseline situation of culturally rich and varied old cities and needs to advance from their inherent smartness using innovative and interactive ICT and urban engineering solutions.
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Advancing Smartness of Traditional Settlements-Case Analysis of Indian and
Arab old cities
Mani Dhingra, Subrata Chattopadhyay
PII: S2212-6090(16)30048-6
Reference: IJSBE 134
To appear in: International Journal of Sustainable Built Environ-
Received Date: 17 March 2016
Accepted Date: 30 August 2016
Please cite this article as: M. Dhingra, S. Chattopadhyay, Advancing Smartness of Traditional Settlements-Case
Analysis of Indian and Arab old cities, International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment (2016), doi: http://
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Advancing Smartness of Traditional Settlements-
Case Analysis of Indian and Arab old cities
Author Details:
Corresponding and Main Author:
Ms. Mani Dhingra
Affiliated to Department of Architecture and Regional Planning, Indian Institute of Technology,
Kharagpur, India
Email Address:;
Co-Author Details:
Dr. Subrata Chattopadhyay
Affiliated to Department of Architecture and Regional Planning, Indian Institute of Technology,
Kharagpur, India
Email Address: ;
1. Introduction
Cities are the face of the future acting as the engines of economic growth and centres of excellence
(ICLEI and the Cities Alliance, 2007). The United Nations’ World Urbanisation Prospects report
identifies the highest rate of urbanization in Asia, which is currently increasing at 1.5 per cent per
annum. Between 2014 and 2050, the urban areas in India are expected to grow by 404 million people
(United Nations, 2014). It is a strong realization by international and national community that a
successful city should balance social, economic and environmental needs, should respond to all the
domains of urban life, should offer security, quality level basic urban infrastructure and a healthy
social environment to prosper its culture and community by recognizing its natural assets, citizens’
needs and environment on which it builds (Elmer & Leigland, 2013). Thus, with a focus on
ecological and humanistic dimensions of urban environment, sustainability is an important concept,
which is appropriate only when implemented in their current cultural contexts (Narayanan, 2015).
The sustainable urban development has emerged as an important urban planning priority in India.
However, Narayanan (2015) has well pointed out in her book that uncritically imposed planning
policies in developing countries like India, without considering its socio-cultural and historic
variations of place and community, has a high risk of failing or even intensifying existing social and
environmental injustices. In order to develop planning policies which integrate social, cultural,
political and environmental needs of existing cities, a localised sense of place is identified as a vital
element of sustainable cities (as cited in Narayanan, 2014).
In the middle east, the impact of modern planning practices is very profound on its historic centres.
The introduction of modern technology and western school of planning has interrupted the
evolutionary processes of middle eastern societies (Blake & Lawless, 2016). Even if some of its
historic urban fabric is alive, the economic and social shifts are predominant in its historic centres.
Simultaneously, the concept of Smart Cities is very promising in India and new urban initiatives are
paving new ways towards urban development. However, the problem arises when the buildings are
given more importance than its inhabitants (Narayanan, 2015). That’s why the cities that were re-
planned pre-independence in India generally left the old historic cities untouched and the focus was
on new western style city extensions around them such as Lutyen’s New Delhi. The clear message of
Narayanan (2015) in her book is to consider the importance of religion and social beliefs of
community than adopting western inspired urban planning principles.
The Middle Eastern cities have already seen a transformation phase from traditional urban fabric to
modern skyscrapers and smart cities (Kiet, 2011) while India is just entering into this new phase of
modern development. Also, a high similarity is observed between planning principles of traditional
settlements in the Middle East and India; imparting high importance to social and religious belief
system of its community. Many scholars have also opposed the insensitive and incongruent approach
of modern planners for such old settlements with a complex society system and values. Hence, the
interventions of Government of India for Smart Urban Development require an investigation of old
cities in India to understand their traditional planning principles so that the inherent features of these
old settlements can be advanced to perceived level of smartness.
The main research question which arises is how inclusive is the concept of smartness and how
sustainable is the built-up environment of these old cities. The study aims to present case analysis of
the traditional settlements in the Indian subcontinent and Arab World, evaluating their sustainability
based on set criteria. The key objectives of the study are to explore the concept of Smart Sustainable
Cities and assess the sustainability of the selected case studies and give an overview of their
traditional planning system.
The study concludes that the physicality, society, and economic aspects can’t be seen in isolation. It is
almost impossible to delink the past from the future. If smart and sustainable are the buzz words for
future cities, then the old and historic principles can’t be ruled out and needs to integrate heritage and
technology altogether. The future scope of research can be to advance inherent layers of sustainability
of these settlements to smart urbanisation.
2. Literature Review
2.1. Concept of Smart Sustainable Cities
Smart, in general, is associated with quick mental alertness, resourcefulness, capability of independent
and intelligent actions and ability to reason. It is nothing but a pro-active operation especially when it
is required the most. However, a smart city is a concept rather than a universally accepted definition
(Kondepudi, accessed 2015). With the change in the approach of the modern world towards
urbanisation, the concept of digital cities, smart cities, and wired cities have flourished over time.
During the 1980s and 1990s, technological advancement and economic growth led to migration as a
common phenomenon in major cities. This urbanisation had profound negative impacts on the
resources of the city and led to the development of the idea of smart urban growth during the 1990s.
Initial idea was to invoke effective community participation in solving urban issues, but later with
Kyoto protocol, the emphasis shifts to environmental protection (Kondepudi, accessed 2015).
International institutions such as the European Union and Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD) realised a strong correlation between the concept of smart and sustainable
along with green growth, quality of life, ICT infrastructure and citizens’ involvement. There is no
concrete definition of the smart city but rather it is treated as a concept and adjective which is
ambiguous and takes shape with the needs and priorities of its users.
A smart city is explained as a broad concept with many sub-themes such as urban and regional
planning, economic development, environment and sustainability, ICT and technology in a literature
study conducted using the mathematical model by Von Brocke et al (Cocchia, 2014). Several authors
had highlighted the difficulty in defining smart cities because of its multifunctional and fuzzy label.
However, all definitions almost share some common characteristics, features, and boundaries. These
concepts are not contradictory and isolated but partially or fully overlap (Cocchia, 2014). The trend
analysis show five phases of development of this concept:
1. Kyoto Protocol (1997): It influenced the way the world perceived modern and industrialized
cities with major thrust on the environment.
2. Information technology boom (2000): The flow of information became smoother among
citizens and life became much easier with IT. The term digital city as the wired city became
widely accepted with internet diffusion into public and private life to create socio-economic
3. Enforcement of Kyoto Protocol (2005): The publications with the term smart city started to
increase which were mostly centered on specific projects.
4. Smart Technology (2007): Apple Ltd launched its first smartphone, i-phone and from here
onwards the use of smart devices became everyday routine for general public. These devices
have smart features which combine telephony and computing together and enable high-speed
data access and real-time digital services to improve the quality of life. This also led to the
building of digital urban arena by merging meanings of smart and digital for innovative urban
5. Europe 2020 strategy (2010): The journals with smart city label started rising phenomenally
till 2012. Europe 2020 strategy widely used the term smart city in t erms of urban
sustainability with its focus on environment protection, social and economic sustainability.
Hence it can be seen that smart city regards more attention to the environmental quality of cities,
unlike digital cities which focus more on the use of Information and Communication Technologies
(ICT) in urban areas. Also, the concept is more of political nature, driven by international resolutions
to implement innovative solutions to tackle complex urban challenges. The four key attributes of
Smart Sustainable Cities (SSCs) are found to be Sustainability, Quality of Life, Urban aspects and
Intelligence with four core themes as Society, Economy, Environment, and Governance (Kondepudi,
accessed 2015). Approximately 116 most cited definitions of smart sustainable cities were analysed
on the basis of chosen attributes and themes of SSCs developed in a parallel International
Telecommunications Union’s Technical Report on the Overview of Smart Sustainable Cities. Also 30
common keywords were found to be overlapping among all these definitions which were further
categorised into eight categories 1) quality of life and lifestyle, (2) infrastructure and services, (3)
ICT, communications, intelligence and information, (4) people, citizen and society, (5) environment
and sustainability, (6) Governance, management and administration, (7) economy and Finance, and
(8) mobility. The five most important keywords in terms of percentage of occurrence were Quality of
life (6.1%), Technology (5.8%), People (5%), Systems (4.7%) and Economy (4.7%) (Kondepudi,
accessed 2015). Based on this analysis, a smart sustainable city is characterised as the one with
following goals to be achieved in an adaptable, reliable, scalable, accessible and resilient manner:
1. Improve quality of life of its citizens
2. Ensure economic growth with better employment opportunities
3. Improve well-being of its citizens by ensuring access to social and community services
4. Establish an environmentally responsible and sustainable approach to development
5. Ensure efficient service delivery of basic services and infrastructure such as public
transportation, water supply and drainage, telecommunication and other utilities
6. Ability to address climate change and environmental issues
7. Provide an effective regulatory and local governance mechanisms ensuring equitable policies
2.2. Urban Fabric Evolution
City making is a process whereby social, economic, political and physical urban components interact
with each other. Urban forms are more or less a result of urban experiences, which are key to human
settlements, culture, and society. These material organisations of urban space are crucial to producing
and reproduce social and economic arrangements and divisions. Elements of urban form tend to
mediate physically and spatially with its social, economic and environmental setting (Lynch &
Rodwin, 1958). This implies that urban form can’t be defined only in terms of its physical and
tangible constructs but requires a deep understanding of its intricate mix of social, economic, legal
and political modes of organisation and interaction. Hence, any city is a result of complex relationship
among its socio-economic, Spatio-temporal and environmental processes and practices (Tonkiss,
In cities, there are a lot of urban processes and urban systems interacting within an urban space. This
idea of urban interconnectedness overpowers the traditional definition of cities as discrete spatial or
functional units. Lynch (1981) defined urban form from the perspective of narrow fixity as a spatial
pattern of large, inert, permanent physical objects in the city. However, Tonkiss (2013) redefined it
from broad non-fixity point of views as not limited to fixed elements of morphologies but it takes in
more dynamic and provisional features of city environments such as the patterns of mobility, inward
and outward flow of people and things, events and interactions, occupation and history which are
highly formative for cities but may or may not be permanent in nature.
In old cities, there are no end users rather there are users over time i.e. transformation of space with
time. All urban occupations are temporary i.e. urban context changes more quickly than urban form.
Urban design is expressive but what is formative of an urban space is not its physical shape alone but
several personal and impersonal processes such as socio-economic, environmental, political and legal.
These processes may appear abstract but are not less social to individualise (Lynch & Rodwin,
1958). Wherever there is a society or mix of people staying together, it has resulted in social and
economic practices from which an interactive environment is woven (Lynch & Rodwin, 1958). Even
an organic pattern depicts some kind of arrangement or organisation of urban space relevant to human
settlements and an urban context (Tonkiss, 2013). Technically, they are socially and economically
planned through a more complex process resulting in an intricate urban fabric.
Generally, the physical form of cities are measured in terms of distribution and densities of
population, housing stock, public buildings and spaces, workplaces and consumption, balance
between private and public land uses, environment etc. The social life of urban form refers to how
cities are structured as spatial environments around and through social relations, practices, and
divisions. Hence, urban form is not only about buildings and spaces between them, skylines and city
boundaries but also about densities and distribution of people and functions, the spatial relationship
between social groups, spatial markings of legal boundaries and entitlements, urban environments and
the submerged or social infrastructures that shape and segment them (Tonkiss, 2013). The scales at
which urban form can be considered or measured include the individual building, street, urban block,
neighbourhood, and city. These levels of spatial disaggregation influence how urban form is
measured, analysed and ultimately understood in terms of aspects shown in figure 1 (Jenks & Jenks,
Figure 1: Aspects of a sustainable built environment (Jenks & Jenks, 2009)
2.3. Sustainability Assessment Matrix
The evaluation of the case studies in the Middle East and India is based on a matrix which is
developed based on extensive literature review of urban form elements which contribute to
sustainability in the long run. This assessment is important to make us understand whether our
traditional settlements have been smart in thei r approach to urban planning and hence assess our
baseline situation to move to next level of introducing ICT and other urban engineering solutions.
Jabareen (2006) identified urban elements composing complex urban pattern and urban form. These
urban patterns can be grouped together conceptually to form concepts and the author conducted a
thematic analysis to discover these urban patterns, themes, and concepts (Jabareen, 2006). In the
present study, these seven concepts are further being used to assess the urban fabric of traditional
settlements and are termed as smart urban elements leading to inclusive and sustainable communities.
Each of these concepts has an overlapping influence on the aspects of sustainability from social,
economic and environmental paradi gms as shown in figure 2.
Figure 2: Smart Urban Elements to assess three Sustainability Conditions
These identified seven smart urban elements are listed below in table 1with their significance.
Table 1: List of Smart Urban Elements
3. Case studies
The selection of case studies is done on the basis of the socio-cultural and traditional belief system of
Islamic and Indian societies. On one hand, Middle Eastern cities have almost completely transformed
from traditional urban fabric to modern cities with tall skyscrapers and smart technologies while on
the other hand, India is witnessing a new wave of urban development focussing on Smart Cities
development by its government. India being a land of numerous historic cities, needs a holistic
approach avoiding the application of western planning principles in its present form. Hence, the old
cities in both the contexts are examined through a set sustainability criteria to plan for their future
without neglecting their rich past and inherent smartness. The two cases have been chosen for the
purpose of this study are the city of Riyadh in the Middle East representing typical old Arab
settlement and the old walled city of Alwar in India.
Saudi Arabia has experienced rapid growth in urban development during the last four decades with
the city of Riyadh transforming from a mud-walled town of 25,000 inhabitants to an international
metropolis of 2.5 million (Al
-Hemaidi, 2001)
Hemaidi, 2001)Hemaidi, 2001)
Hemaidi, 2001). The city belongs to the pre-Islamic era and has
transformed over time with rapid urban development. Since the 1940s the city has changed from an
isolated and narrow town to spacious modern city. It lies in the centre of Arabian Peninsula on a
plateau with an area of around 1300 sq km. With post 1940s modern development and economic
growth, the traditional urban settlements experienced a constant self-destruction by adopting imported
town planning techniques from the western world (Al-Hemaidi, 2001). This urban development
process has been widely criticised by scholars and now the city has started to experiment with
something called improved traditional built environment.
The second case study of the walled city of Alwar is located in the northwestern state of Rajasthan in
India at an elevation of 271 m and bordered by Aravalli Range to its west. It is the third most
populous districts in the state out of 33 districts followed by Jaipur and Jodhpur (Town Planning
Department, 2011). The origin of the region dates back to the era of Indus valley civilisation and epic
age in India. The pre-historic evidences show its great association with Indo-Islamic heritage. During
British rule in India, Alwar was one of the princely state capitals and the district is now a part of
National Capital regional plan 2021 of Government of India with a total population of around 3.67
million in 2011 (Town Planning Department, 2011). Presently, a traditional way of living is still
prevalent in the old city area with rich tangible and intangible heritage and it is an important magnetic
center of the region. This raises further concern how the new urban development will deal with the
traditional settlements and can we analyse existing sustainable elements in the walled city to integrate
them in new smart planning framework.
4. Methodology
Each of the case studies has been analysed and their qualitative characteristics are converted to scores
based on the scale developed to assess the smart urban elements. The indicators have been identified
based on a comprehensive literature study (Yigitcanlar,, 2015). The city of Riyadh is studied
and analysed based on comprehensive literature review of secondary data and peer-review journals.
The city is quite old and had rich urban planning principles. However, the literature reviews show that
these planning principles have lost over the years due to inevitable forces of globalisation in the
Middle East countries. This entire process has led to the deterioration of its traditional urban form and
character. That’s also one of the reasons to adopt literature review for the city as the methodology to
understand its traditional urban form and characteristics.
On the other hand, the walled city of Alwar is analysed based on the primary surveys for which GIS-
assisted spatial analysis of its urban fabric is carried out (Dhingra, et. al, 2016). The walled city of
Alwar still demonstrates Indo-Islamic town planning principles and gives an opportunity to the
authors to understand the current baseline scenario of the traditional settlements. Alwar is a similar
study to the city of Ri yadh, which is a medium sized town and is facing new forces of globalisation
and technology. This brings to the question of how the new global market forces should respond in
this context, keeping in mind the traditional layout of the city. This further brings closer to the need of
understanding its presently existing scenario which is only possible through primary surveys as the
secondary data at the micro level for cities in India is almost negligible and needs a micro level
investigation. Both the case studies have further been analysed and compared in a matrix format for
each of these urban concepts and results are presented. The methodological approach is shown in
figure 3.
Figure 3: Methodological Approach
The scale which is developed for the assessment of the identified smart urban elements and their
respective indicators are given in table 2.
Table 2: Scale for Evaluation of Smart Urban Elements
For the survey of the old settlements in the walled cit y of Alwar, a 3.80 soft boundary is
delineated based on several factors such as the master plan boundaries, historical evolution, high-
density areas, arterial roads, the presence of traditional architectural elements and townscape value.
This area contains several layers of historical evolution and comprises of approximately 66 identified
old neighbourhoods called mohallas, 26 historical landmarks, important streets and 18 intangible
heritage components (Dhingra,, 2016). All the identified urban layers were mapped on Arc GIS
desktop version 10.1 and figure-ground analysis was conducted. Around 160 households and 50 local
shopkeepers were surveyed based on the structured questionnaire to identify the development trend
and local behaviour pattern. Stratified random and clustered sampling survey technique were used for
primary surveys of local residents and shopkeepers. For the purpose of sample size calculation
assuming a normal distribution with the confidence interval of 90%, equation 1 is used (Dhingra,, 2016).
 = ×()
n = required sample
z = value of confidence level C.L. (for 90% it is 1.645)
p = estimated prevalence of variable of interest (assumed to be 30%)
m= margin of error (assumed to be 20%)
Correction for finite population is done using equation 2 (Dhingra,, 2016):
 =
 ()
POPLn = ward wise population as per 2011 census
5. Results and Discussion
5.1. Riyadh
The Arab world comprises of countries which are tied together by a common cultural and social
ideologies. From an early point time, there is a specific and unique Islamic quality which is apparent
in traditional settlements of the Arab world. It shows deep affinities based on a set of customs, daily
living habits, functional patterns and structural principles. However, these settlements had the climate,
socio-cultural values, vernacular building techniques and religious beliefs as the common
denominator of development (Bianca, 2000). Traditional Arabic town is a unique phenomenon
moulded around several factors which are not in sync with formal town planning principles but rather
with the autonomous management of societies of a class (Kiet, 2011). Most of the traditional Middle
Eastern cities followed an organic growth pattern (Figure 4) marked by seeds of certain archetypes
(Bianca, 2000). These could, in turn, develop a wide range of physical shapes responding to site
constraints, community size, economic resources and building materials and techniques. The real
source of unity in Arab traditional settlements lies in its pre-formal archetypes and patterns rather than
stylistic features (Ibrahim, 2015).
Figure 4: Old Urban Fabric of Riyadh city
Urban morphology of traditional Arab settlements is characterised by the narrow and shallow street
corridors leading t o neighbourhoods resulting in closer public interactions and closed private spaces,
which prevented friction from bustling public life (Kiet, 2011; Costa & Noble, 1996). The Arab
culture mostly developed around the circular or spiral pattern with religion at its centre of gravity
(Bianca, 2000). The centre of the city had multifunctional core system as main land use pattern
surrounding central mosque by different layers of interconnected souqs. Interconnected within are
common public and commercial facilities (Ibrahim, 2015). The main spines from the grand mosque
complex lead to the walls or gates from which the narrow streets lead to a cluster of neighbourhoods.
There was a transition of urban space from public to semi-private to private residential units in these
settlements giving a sense of zoning. The residential units were not merely a result of mechanical
subdivision of space but rather a cellular aggregation process. The typical multifocal pattern was
generated by countless centres of individual neighbourhoods and not on the basis of gridiron system.
(Costa & Noble, 1996).
Also, the hot and arid climate along with the need for segregation of private spaces from semi-private
and public spaces led to introvert urban plans. Most of the buildings were closer to the ground and
grouped together to harness the potential of mutual shading to create a cooler microclimate. These
dwelling units form clusters of neighbourhoods further leading to multiple clusters leading to
continuous highly dense compact urban form. The old settlements possessed a high degree of ethnic
and religious homogeneity where outside intruders were not allowed into private spaces of
inhabitants. The openings opened inside the central courtyard rather than the main streets to ensure
high-level privacy, especially for its women (Kiet, 2011). The internal narrow roads didn’t have
provisions for vehicular movement and hence preferable mode of movement was walking with
complete segregation of private and public spaces leading to purely residential land use. Each
neighbourhood cluster has its own set of tradition and culture which further integrated into a united
urban form. Traditional souqs were the ultimate marketplaces where items such as spices, dyes,
jewels, silk and others passed from generations to generations. Well-off families were settled near the
central complex and working class people were situated closer to the periphery with agriculture land
beyond it.
Table 3: Assessment of Typical Arab Settlement: Riyadh traditional settlements
The assessment of Riyadh as t ypical Arab settlements against all the smart urban elements with their
characteristic features is presented in table 3. The courtyard and high-level venting spaces ensured
warm air to rise up and cool convection currents near the ground. The orientation of building and
openings was away from the sun and towards north and west (Costa & Noble, 1996). The absence of
dominant civic institution increased the need for local consensus and certain mechanism for human
interaction. Courtyard type planning is prevalent which is introvert in nature to ensure a high level of
privacy of family activities. The vernacular ventilating system of mulgufs or wind-towers was
employed with inward facing fenestrations and raised at a certain height to ensure privacy and
ventilation. Mud was the most common material used for walls which kept houses cooler and was also
locally available. There was a strong system of open spaces, courtyards and circulation patterns at
every scale. Impervious surfaces were least in number due to minimal metalled road surface and
private street corridors were used mainly as spaces for social interaction among the people
5.2. Alwar
The origin of Alwar walled city dates back to around 200 years ago over which numerous
transformations have taken place in the city (Dhingra M, et al., 2016). The historical evidence shows
a close association of the city with the prehistoric era and Indus valley civilisation. The foundation
was however formally laid in 1049 AD by Kushwaha clan as Alapur city which was later renamed as
Alwar. In 1775 AD a grand city wall with five main city gates was established as city limits with moat
outside it. Several public buildings were constructed by rulers of the region which still exist and many
of them have been added to the state protected list. Post-independence, Alwar city acceded into the
Indian dominion as part of Matsya Union and later in 1949 was reunited to form the district in the
state of Rajasthan. Most of the royal structures including city palace were put to adaptive reuse mostly
as government offices. In the late 1940s to accommodate refugee population from Pakistan, the town
development schemes were implemented for which the city wall was broken down and the moat was
filled. New contiguous old city areas started to develop with more or less similar pattern. However,
with Alwar municipal council in 1958, new housing schemes started to develop as an immediately
adjacent area to traditional settlements (Dhingra & Chattopadhyay, 2016).
Figure 5: Historic Urban Fabric of Walled City of Alwar
Figure 5 depicts city palace complex under the foothills of Aravalli with unique main streets layout
with major landmarks located at the junctions (Figure 6(a)). The streets leading to Jagannath temple
complex are lined with the traditional shops on both the sides running for generations. The clusters of
neighborhoods (known as mohallas) located behind the facades of the commercial streets (known as
bazaars) (Figure 6(b)). The city still follows the traditional residential culture of Mohalla system
which literally means neighbourhood term in Arabic. Most of them have courtyard type of planning
which helps in keeping the rooms cool in summers (Figure 6(c)). Also, these courtyard and roof
spaces are used for sleeping in the night and other daily activities (Figure 6(d)).
These mohallas have no rigid boundaries but rather are based on experiences of its local inhabitants.
The figure-ground analysis in figure 7 reveals the urban morphology of historic city area of Alwar.
Figure 6: Clusters of Old Neighbourhoods in Alwar
Usually, a mohalla in the Indian context is inhabited by a community of same social status forming a
cluster altogether. In between these mohallas were open spaces with wells or religious places or a
banyan tree under which some of the most important decisions of the community were used to be
taken by the head of the social group. Also, these open spaces known as chowks were places for
social gatherings, rituals, celebrations and dialogues (Cieslewska, 2010; Dhingra M., et al., 2016). In
terms of its social function, the mohallas act as a traditional self-governing small community which
organizes community’s way of life. Their nomenclature is usually based either on a dominant
professional group inhabiting the area in past and hence shows a strong historical and cultural
association. The material for construction of houses is mostly stone and lime mortar with prominent
use of Rajputana architectural elements such as Jharokhas (balconies) and Jalis (screens). Also,
architectural elements such as brackets have been widely used in the building structure employing
local craftsmen skills. The area has medium to high-density settlements with narrow, winding and
dead alleyways.
Figure 7: Figure Ground Analysis
There is an organic growth pattern observed in the city (Figure 7(b)). Also, there is a sense of visual
linkage to old monuments and Aravalli Hills from its network of roads. The overall morphology of the
city is very interesting from the perspective of ancient town planning practices. The assessment of
smart urban elements is carried out in table 4 with their characteristic features.
Table 4: Assessment of old settlements in Walled City of Alwar
The mohallas are closely knitted together in the form of clusters leading to compact urban form. The
primary surveys reveal that around 29% population work in home-based enterprises and 51% in core
city area within walkable range to their houses (Figure 8(e)). The narrow zigzag streets connect to
other mohallas forming closely connected the network. The main arterial roads provide access to
important community areas, city palace and main temple complex of Lord Jagannath (Figure 8(b)).
The organic and irregular street network have excellent internal connectivity to innermost mohallas.
In 2011, the residential density of the old city area was estimated to be around 30,000 persons per
square kilometre in comparison to the net residential density of city of 20,500 persons per square
kilometre. An increasing trend since the 1940s is observed for mixed residential land use with 26%
respondents having houses on top fl oors and commercial activities on the ground floor (Figure 8(d)).
Figure 8: Characteristic Features in old settlements of Alwar walled city
Except royal carts and other means of movement along main arterial streets, no provision for
vehicular movement is provided within mohallas. The main city core is around 5 to 15 minutes
walking distance from various mohallas with common facilities and services being shared among 2 or
more neighbourhoods, thereby increasing accessibility of the local community. Most of the houses are
still inhabited by owners. However, a rising trend of rental housing and housing transformation is
observed. There are numerous intangible heritage and crafts for which Alwar is famous among
tourists. Around 21% respondents are found to be engaged directly in traditional and cottage
industries (figure 8(f)). Houses were oriented and sited to avoid direct sun rays in habitable rooms
and facilitating mutual shading on streets. Multifunctional courtyard type planning is quite common
with rooms surrounding it. The family uses this space for several purposes such as sleeping, grinding
spices, making pickles and making pottery or other craft-based industries (Figure 8(g)). Jalis
(Screens) and Jharokhas (Balconies) are main vernacular architectural elements to ensure cool breeze
within the interiors and also to avoid heavy dust storms (figure 8(h)). Stone masonry and lime mortar
is commonly used with intricate carvings and thick walls with more time lag are common. Squares
(known as chowks) with wells or tanks or trees were used as common discussion places for the local
community (Figure 8(a) and 8 (c)). Impervious surfaces were less in number except forming arterial
roads with no major drainage issues in old settlements. Rainwater used to get collected in wells and
step wells for use in summers.
5.3. Key Inferences
All these qualities of social and public space ensured an effective citizen participation and self-
governance at the local level. People of the community used to participate and engage in the
development activities of their neighbourhoods. Also, both the cases show a high degree of mobility,
compactness, density, passive design and green urbanism. However, in terms of land use mix, the
Arab settlements did not have much of mixed residential and commercial uses due to the constraints
of segregating private spaces from public spaces. Each of these neighbourhoods had long walls and
entry gates for selective accessibility whereas in Alwar mostly 29% of the surveyed population is
involved in home-based enterprises or some form of cottage industries resulting in more of mixed
land use pattern.
Both the cities had a heterogeneous mix of communities in terms of social as well as economic status.
They had their own social hierarchy to be maintained to satisfy their respective cultural needs. These
diverse communities, however, formed repetitive and continuous fabric which is homogenous and
united. Also, their rich intangible heritage requires proper management of creative economy of the
region. The planning principles of many old Indian settlements especially in northern part of the
subcontinent are aligned with the Arabic philosophy which can be largely attributed to the cultural
exchange and trade between the regions in the past. in terms of sustainability score, the design and
functioning of Alwar are found to be 64 out of 66 and Riyadh is found to be 59 out of 66 i.e. almost
6. Conclusions
The case analysis was carried out for the typical Arab settlements and old walled city of Alwar in
Indian subcontinent which are subjected to tremendous pressures of urban expansion. Both the cities-
the traditional city of Riyadh and the walled city of Alwar were based on smart urban planning
principles. These principles evolved because of social, economic, geographical and religious
paradigms of native communities over a span of time. The archetypes represent various urban
elements which are smart and inclusive in nature and are at par with the modern and contemporary
city planning approach. Both the cities had a characteristic compact development with a low rise and a
highly dense cluster of neighbourhoods. These old neighbourhood or mohallas were flexible to
accommodate the future needs of its community.
The basic circulation and transportation planning were sustainable with efficient walkability and
accessibility of communit y to the local city centre and public services. The design and layout of
buildings and dwelling units were based on vernacular design techniques well adapted to harsh hot
and dry climate of the region. Also, in Islamic settlements, the houses were introvert in nature
maintaining a high level of privacy and safety for its inhabitants. The crime rates were almost
negligible because of the minimal intrusion of public into the private life of people. These old
settlements also maintained an optimal mix of open spaces in the form of squares, courtyards as well
as street corridors for children to play safely and adults to have important discussions and
The old and historic neighbourhoods of Alwar city exhibit a compact development and social
cohesion among its local community. Importance was extensively given to pedestrians and local
climatic conditions which enhance not only the walkability but also the energy efficiency in these old
settlements. Chowks or Junctions were crucial meeting places for community discussion and
participation. Old wells and tanks employ natural water management techniques. Also, a natural
drainage pattern has been observed in the walled city as per the natural contours and the old
neighbourhoods seldom face issues of water logging.
Overall, these traditional settlements show a holistic planning ideology in both cases which is intuitive
and wholesome. Their spiritual values and social belief system guided them to a more sustainable and
inclusive society. Environmentally, they used sound building techniques with sensitivity towards local
climate and natural resources. Socially, these settlements maintained a diverse mix of people with
least conflict among its communities. Public participation was of highest order where local decisions
were based on the consensus of its people. Further, these communities have high potential to harness
their local creative economy and intangible heritage. These settlements which are often termed as
obsolete and backward are found to be more sensitive with creative features leading to cultural
As seen in most of the cases, modern planning stereotypes which have been imposed on these areas
without considering their socio-economic and cultural context resulted in the destruction of a
sustainable community rather than advancing their inherent local smartness. Their urban elements
had an implicit smartness quality enhancing the inclusiveness and sustainability of the communities.
Now the question is how to make way for their smart planning with new urban technology and ICT
solutions. It is important that the urban practitioners and decision makers don’t forget the roots of
existing old cities to develop a plan which won’t be even people friendly.
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List of Figures
Figure 1: Aspects of a sustainable built environment (Jenks & Jenks, 2009) ..................................... 14
Figure 2: Smart Urban Elements to assess three Sustainability Conditions ....................................... 15
Figure 3: Methodological Approach ................................................................................................ 16
Figure 4: Old Urban Fabric of Riyadh city ....................................................................................... 17
Figure 5: Historic Urban Fabric of Walled City of Alwar ................................................................. 18
Figure 6: Clusters of Old Neighbourhoods in Alwar......................................................................... 19
Figure 7: Figure Ground Analysis .................................................................................................... 20
Figure 8: Characteristic Features in old settlements of Alwar walled city ......................................... 21
Figure 9: Aspects of a sustainable built environment (Jenks & Jenks, 2009)
Figure 10: Smart Urban Elements to assess three Sustainability Conditions
Figure 11: Methodological Approach
Image Source: (Aina, et al., 2013)
Image Source: (Al-Hemaidi, 2001)
Figure 12: Old Urban Fabric of Riyadh city
Figure 13: Historic Urban Fabric of Walled City of Alwar
a) Main arterial roads b) Cluster of mohallas
c) Courtyard Planning d) Multifunctional open spaces
Figure 14: Clusters of Old Neighbourhoods in Alwar
Old walled city and contigous old settlements
Compact walled city of Alwar
Figure 15: Figure Ground Analysis
Chowks or Squares in
Jagannath Temple Complex
Common open spaces in mohallas
Mixed Land Use
Traditional Handicrafts
Potters and Clay work
g) Uniques housing styles h) Balconies and Screens
Figure 16: Characteristic Features in old settlements of Alwar walled city
List of Tables
Table 1: List of Smart Urban Elements .............................................................................................. 2
Table 2: Scale for Evaluation of Smart Urban Elements ..................................................................... 3
Table 3: Assessment of Typical Arab Settlement: Riyadh traditional settlements ............................... 4
Table 4: Assessment of old settlements in Walled City of Alwar ........................................................ 6
Table 1: List of Smart Urban Elements
Smart Urban Elements Significance
1 Compactness
improves walkability; reduced energy usage; high quality of life
in terms of social interaction; access to community services;
mutual shading; reduced travel demand
2 Mobility reduced travel need; accessibility to services; environment and
pedestrian friendly; anti-vehicular growth
3 Density
viable interactions between urban functions and activities;
encourages compact development; efficient use of scarce natural
resources and urban land; reduce automobile ownership and
travel demand
4 Land Use Mix
Ensures safety on streets; reduced number of trips; increases
accessibility; attractive local streets; boosts local creative
economy and handicrafts; high neighbourhood charm
5 Diversity
rich social and cultural mix; promotes walking; closely grained;
attractive urban landscapes
6 Passive Solar Design
favours microclimatic conditions; reduces cooling and heating
energy consumption; environmentally viable; promote local
craftsmen skills
Green Urbanism
favours microclimatic conditions; greens spaces for children to
play; open spaces for social interaction; promote participative
decision making
Revised from
(Jabareen, 2006)
Table 2: Scale for Evaluation of Smart Urban Elements
Smart Urban
Elements Indicators Evaluation Criteria
Dwelling Units Density
High = 3; Medium=2; Low=1.
2 Mobility
Home to Work
Distance Low=3; Moderate=2; High=1
Internal Connectivity
Good =3; Medium=2; Bad=1
External Connectivity
Good =3;
Medium=2; Bad=2
Street Layout Well Connected = 3; Moderately
connected=2; Poorly connected=1
3 Density
persons per hectare
High=3; Medium=2; Low=1
commuter mode
Walking/Cycling=3; 2
Wheeler=2; 4
4 Land Use Mix
Mixed Residential
Land Use High=3; Medium=2; Low=1
Walkability to City
Centre High=3; Medium=2; Low=1
Walkability to Social
Services High=3; Medium=2; Low=1
Mix of commercial and
residential land uses High=3; Medium=2; Low=1
5 Diversity
Building typology Varied=3; Moderate=2; Not Varied=1
Socio-cultural mix Heterogeneous=3; Moderate mix=2;
Local Creative
Varied and Flourishing=3; Stagnant=2;
Income groups Heterogeneous=3; Moderate mix=2;
6 Passive Solar
Orientation and Siting
climatic considerations: High=3;
Moderate=2; Low=3
Building Layout climatic considerations: High=3;
Moderate=2; Low=3
Façade and
climatic considerations: High=3;
Moderate=2; Low=3
Building techniques
and materials
climatic considerations: High=3;
Moderate=2; Low=3
7 Green Urbanism
Accessible Open
spaces High=3; Medium=2; Low=1
Impervious Surfaces Low=3; Medium=2; High=1
Common Public spaces
for informal discussion High=3; Medium=2; Low=1
Table 3: Assessment of Typical Arab Settlement: Riyadh traditional settlements
Smart Urban
Elements Indicators
Characteristic Features
1 Compactness
Dwelling Units form clusters of
neighbourhoods further leading to
multiple clusters leading to compact
2 Mobility
Home to
the main spines from the great mosque
complex lead to entry gates or walls to
each of the neighbourhoods within
shallow and narrow alleyways
connected various neighbourhood
these private street corridors link to
main public spaces which are lined with
shops leading to core complex
Layout 3
irregular street network with organic
growth pattern makes the settlements
less exposed to dust and sun
3 Density persons per
hectare 3
Dwelling units clustered together
especially with closely staying kinship
leading to highly dense settlements
the narrow roads don’t have provisions
for vehicular movement and hence
preferable mode of movement is
4 Land Use Mix
Land Use
1 private and public spaces segregated
leading to purely residential land use
to City
all the activities are in close vicinity of
city core with grand mosque,
commercial area and government
buildings/royal palace
to Social
local neighbourhood clusters have all
the common public services and
facilities for its community leading to a
self-contained neighbourhood
Mixed Land
Use 1
there is complete segregation of private,
semi-private and public spaces leading
to somehow a rigid zoning in terms of
land use
5 Diversity Building
typology 2
social classes dictated the growth
pattern from the centre of the city
almost in circular or spiral pattern
cultural mix 2
each neighbourhood cluster has its own
set of tradition and culture to be
followed further integrated into a united
urban form
Local 2 Souqs are the ultimate marketplaces
where items such as spices, dyes,
jewels, silk and others are passed in the
form of tradition from generations to
groups 3
well of families were settled near the
central complex and working class
people closer to periphery with
agriculture land beyond it.
6 Passive Solar
and Siting 3
dwelling units are oriented and sited to
minimise exposure to direct sunrays
further shading the streets with their
complex pattern
Layout 3
Courtyard t ype planning is prevalent
which is introvert in nature to ensure
high level of privacy of family
activities. Vernacular ventilating system
of mulgufs are employed
Façade and
Fenestration 3
openings which are inward looking and
raised at certain height to ensure
privacy and ventilation
Mud construction is most common
which keeps houses cool and is locally
7 Green Urbanism
Open spaces 3
there was a strong systems of open
spaces, courtyards and circulation
patterns at every scale
Surfaces 3
least in number due to minimal
metalled road surface
spaces for
private street corridors were used
mainly as spaces for social interaction
among the people
Score 59
Total Score
Table 4: Assessment of old settlements in Walled City of Alwar
Smart Urban
Elements Indicators
City of
Characteristic Features
1 Compactness
mohallas closely knitted together in the
form of clusters leading to compact
development pattern
2 Mobility
Home to
around 29% population was found to
work in home based enterprises and
51% in core city area within walkable
range (Figure 8(e))
narrow zigzag streets connect to other
mohallas forming closely connected
the main arterial roads provide access
to important community areas, city
palace and main temple complex of
Lord Jagannath (Figure 8(b))
Layout 3
organic and irregular street network
with excellent connectivity to
innermost mohalla community
3 Density persons per
hectare 3
In 2011, the residential density of the
old city area was around 30,000
persons per square kilometre in
comparison to net residential density of
city of 20,500 persons per square
Except royal carts and other means of
movement along main arterial streets,
no provision for vehicular movement is
provided within mohallas
4 Land Use Mix
Land Use
increasing trend since 1940s with
around 26% surveyed houses having
mixed residential land uses
to City
the main city core is around 5 to 15
minutes walking distance from various
to Social
common facilities and services shared
among 2 or more neighbourhoods
thereby increasing accessibility of the
local community
Mixed Land
Use 3
In most of the case, ground floor is
used for commercial purposes and top
floors are used for storage or godown
and residential purposes (Figure 8(d))
5 Diversity Building
typology 3
Most of the houses are still inhabited
by owners. However, a rising trend of
rental housing is observed. Housing
transformation is also on rise
cultural mix 3 Around 45% of the total sample is
found to be of General Category, 27%
belong to Scheduled Caste (SC)
category and 21% belong to Other
Backward Class (OBC) and rest is
Scheduled Tribes (ST).
There are numerous intangible heritage
and crafts for which Alwar is famous
among tourists. Around 21% people
were found to be engaged directly in
traditional and cottage industries
(figure 8(f))
groups 2
There was a time when all classes of
people used to stay together in old city
area. However, now most of the
affluent class has moved out leaving
behind poor and socially backward
people in the old city area
6 Passive Solar
and Siting 3
houses have been oriented and sited to
avoid direct sunrays in habitable rooms
and facilitating mutual shading on
Layout 3
Multifunctional courtyard type
planning is quite common with rooms
surrounding it. Family uses this space
for several purposes such as sleeping,
grinding spices, making pickles and
making pottery or other craft based
industries (Figure 8(g))
Façade and
Fenestration 3
Jalis (Screens) and Jharokhas
(Balconies) are used as architectural
elements to ensure cool breeze within
the interiors and also to avoid heavy
dust storms (figure 8(h))
Stone masonry and lime mortar is
commonly used with intricate carvings
and thick walls with more time lag is
7 Green Urbanism Accessible
Open spaces 3
chowks or squares with wells or tanks
or trees as sitting places in local
mohallas (Figure 8(a))
Surfaces 3
Less in number except forming arterial
roads. There have been no major
drainage issues in old settlements. Rain
water used to get collected in wells and
step wells for use in summers
spaces for
chowks were used as places for local
gathering, celebrations, rituals and high
level engagement and dialogues among
its local public (Figure 8(c))
Score 64
Total Score 66
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Purpose Smart urban governance research has progressed over the past few decades following changes and increasingly complicated city management difficulties. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to use a scoping review and bibliometric analysis to examine all the publications on smart urban governance, especially in Asia. Design/methodology/approach A total of 1,900 smart urban governance articles indexed in the Scopus database was analyzed through scoping review and bibliometric analysis. The articles were analyzed by the number of publications per year, contributing countries, subject areas, authors, cited documents, related issues and cited papers. Furthermore, VOSviewer was used to provide a visual analysis of the co-occurrence of keywords. Findings This study indicated that urban smart governance publications continue to increase yearly. Even though the area of analysis is Asia, the USA and China seriously contributed to the analysis. Therefore, the topic of smart urban governance has become a discussion for scholars in the international. From the Scopus database analysis, the top three subject areas are social sciences (28%), environmental science (20%) and medicine (16%). The synthesis using bibliometric analysis by VOSviewer obtained 13 clusters. Research limitations/implications This study only focuses on the Scopus database and one specific topic, using one bibliometric analysis tool. Meanwhile, national and international index databases are not used. Originality/value This paper examined publication trends on smart urban governance. This paper provided a comprehensive analysis of topic-specific knowledge areas based on previous studies. Additionally, this paper suggested the direction of the development of smart urban governance in the future.
Climate change is one of the most serious environmental issues of the twenty-first century, compelling designers to adapt their work to completely new climate-change-adapted settings. The Middle East’s dry environment causes issues with rising temperatures and decreasing humidity. Environmental harmony has long been a priority in Middle Eastern architecture. Designers changed nature to accommodate the limited supply and demand for energy. Concerns about privacy and climate change influence home construction in areas with similar religious and climatic conditions. As a result, the purpose of this research is to look into the environmental and privacy-enhancing characteristics of historic and contemporary buildings. To accomplish this goal, observations and reviews of relevant literature were used to collect qualitative data. Analysis from a variety of research and climate-tested data was used in the following: This study’s data and analysis include traditional homes, the Koppen climatic classification, and contemporary house design. Furthermore, research methods have been used in areas with well-established internal residential characteristics, such as Baghdad, Riyadh, Mukalla, and Kashan. The climate and isolation of each instance were studied and compared to nearby, modern dwellings. Our data show that these communities’ older buildings made good use of natural heating and cooling resources. Summer and winter rooms are available for rent in historic mansions in Kashan and Baghdad. Summers in these regions are scorching, and winters are bitterly cold due to the different positions of the sun. We have not yet investigated any sun-facing locations in modern architecture. Wind turbines are also very important. The wind tower passively cools the structure’s air. In modern homes, air conditioning provides ventilation. These items are both expensive and energy-intensive.KeywordsTraditional architectureClimate adaptationUrbanismMiddle East
Urbanization is a rampant phenomenon, and cities are dealing with the crisis of overpopulation—causing a dearth of resources, environmental degradation, and inequalities. Social and economic imbalance among the citizens is one of the main problems in cities. The emergence of the smart city concept to tackle these diverse challenges is necessary and important, particularly to strive for balance among the citizens’ needs and environment, as it is known to address urban sprawl, social inequalities, unplanned urbanization, and city management. This paper is a systematic review that reflects on the smart city concept and planning, intending to identify and analyse the definitions and concepts of smart cities, their components, and the importance of sustainable design and development for the Indian context. The following methodology for the systematic review—(i) identification, (ii) eligibility, (iii) screening, and (iv) analysis—is adopted and further contextualized to infer the underpinning relevance for developing nations, such as India, and specifically its north-east region. Apart from offering a bird’s eye view of the various focus areas, within sustainable smart city development initiatives, which are prioritized, ignored, or given less importance; the key finding from literature is the lack of adequate implementation and strategies for geographically challenging, hence, economically underdeveloped, yet resource rich and culturally diverse regions of the global south, akin to the north-east region of India. This paper contributes to a larger body of research intended to develop sustainable smart city planning, design, and implementation support for the north-east of India, in line with the initiatives of the Govt. Of India.KeywordsSmart cityUrban planningSustainabilityEnvironmentQuality of life
Remote testing has been exploited in software development for several years. Until recently, virtual support in the design of physical tools and appliances has received much less attention. The years of pandemic travel restriction have created a completely novel set of requirements for usability testing, whereby the physical interaction between the experimenter and the end user has been no longer possible. In this frame, the host of new communication platforms that became available provided means for innovative protocols of remote synchronous interaction. Here, we successfully apply them for the testing of medical devices in the user-centered design development. The proposed protocol is validated along the development of a medical applicator tool, the SYMPLX, designed for the use in the operating room by cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons (the end users). The applicator is aimed at facilitating the combination of a protective pouch made of biosynthesized cellulose, the Hylomate, and a target pacemaker or defibrillator upon their implantation in cardiovascular patients. The testing with end user rendered a number of videos featuring a reproduced model of the operating room, where the clinical procedure was performed with the use of SYMPLX. The ensuing analysis extracted four quantitative descriptors of the performance, with sufficient reliability and reproducibility to evaluate design improvements, as well as user-related variability and learning process. Altogether, we describe and validate a new flexible and cost-effective protocol that can support the remote design of medical devices and has the potential to be optimized for other physical tools.KeywordsRemote usability test setupRemote usability testingRemote operating tableUser-centered design developmentUser-centered industrial design approachMedical product design developmentMedical designSurgical applicator
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Diabetes is a serious public health issue in developing countries, particularly in urban regions. Heat exposure, measured by residential area land surface temperature (LST), may contribute to the risk of diabetes among urban dwellers due to rapid urbanisation and climate change. This might be useful to predict urban diabetes risk. However, this relationship has not been thoroughly assessed in developing countries. Additionally, residential area greenery may mitigate the detrimental effects of high LST. This study examines the association between residential area LST and diabetes among adults (aged ≥ 18 years) in urban regions of Bangladesh and whether residential area greenness modifies the association. Study data were derived from the latest Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2017–2018, and survey cluster-level LST and enhanced vegetation index (i.e. greenness) were used to define residential area-level environmental features. A binary logistic regression was used to estimate the association, and stratified analysis was performed to examine the effect modification role of greenness. Living in areas with a greater LST increased the odds of having diabetes (AOR 1.23, 95% CI 1.01–1.50, p value = 0.035), whereas residing in areas with greater greenness decreased the odds of having diabetes (AOR 0.07, 95% CI 0.01–0.88, p value = 0.039). The effect of LST on diabetes was more pronounced in adults who lived in urban areas with less greenery (AOR 1.31, 95% CI 1.01–1.71, p value = 0.048). This evidence has significant ramifications for local communities, and the improvement of green infrastructure may reduce heat exposure-related health risks in the context of climate change and urbanisation.
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The term neighborhood has been frequently referred to in the context of traditional and contemporary residential development. Since the coining of the expression ‘neighborhood unit’ in 1929 by Clarence A. Perry, it has become a recurring theme in planning our cities. The planning agencies continue to adapt and make modular use of the neighborhood unit when planning new communities. The social and physical connotations of neighborhood must be understood in order to be able to carry forward its essence for the benefit of planned development efforts. The paper in this context brings forth the concept as forwarded by its protagonists, its interpretation at various points of time, and establishes the need to understand its essence in the contemporary urban context.
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Rapid urbanization, improved quality of life, and diversified lifestyle options have collectively led to an escalation in housing demand in our cities, where residential areas, as the largest portion of urban land use type, play a critical role in the formation of sustainable cities. To date there has been limited research to ascertain residential development layouts that provide a more sustainable urban outcome. This paper aims to evaluate and compare sustainability levels of residential types by focusing on their layouts. The paper scrutinizes three different development types in a developing country context-i.e., subdivision, piecemeal, and master-planned developments. This study develops a "Neighborhood Sustainability Assessment" tool and applies it to compare their sustainability levels in Ipoh, Malaysia. The analysis finds that the master-planned development, amongst the investigated case studies, possesses the potential to produce higher levels of sustainability outcomes. The results reveal insights and evidence for policymakers, planners, development agencies and researchers; advocate further studies on neighborhood-level sustainability analysis, and; emphasize the need for collective efforts and an effective process in achieving neighborhood sustainability and sustainable city formation.
Conference Paper
Significance of mahalla as informal social, self-governing institution has increased due to a variety of factors related to the post-transitional changes in Tajikistan. The phenomenon of existence of informal self-government bodies has not been only exclusive to Central Asia or Tajikistan. However, in a case of Central Asia, those institutions have always played significant role in maintaining social order and frequently they are more legitimized in the eyes of local residents than the formally established self-government. Recently, the government of Tajikistan has attempted to incorporate the elements of (indigenous) self-governmental institutions into the formal self-government’s structures. Also, international organizations try to integrate mahalla as important element which would facilitate development’s process. Identification of potential of this old institution could become a good base for poverty reduction and social programs.
The formal urban planning framework for modern Indian cities is not enough for its historical cities which are usually characterised by multi-functional spaces, heterogeneous societies, compact urban form and diverse economic linkages. The study establishes the need of a micro-level assessment of old neighbourhoods for community-based urban regeneration. The historic walled city of Alwar in Rajasthan in India is selected as the case study where traditional lifestyle still prevails. A comprehensive methodology helps devising a Neighbourhood Vitality Tool for rapid assessment of identified Neighbourhood Planning Units (NPUs) with the help of vitality scores. GIS assisted analysis further helps in organising the spatial and factual data of each NPU in the form of an illustrative chart to help support local decision making. The proposed rapid assessment tool for the historic neighbourhoods identifies their core urban issues as well as their underlying potential using simple colour coded matrix. The primary surveys for Alwar form the main inputs for the analysis and brings forth the challenges of vacant and dilapidated housing, traffic congestion and gentrification in the core city area. Such an indicator based assessment supported by visualization may help in quickly identifying the interventions at neighbourhood level and evaluate them for effective implementation.
The speed and scale of urbanisation in India is unprecedented almost anywhere in the world and has tremendous global implications. The religious influence on the urban experience has resonances for all aspects of urban sustainability in India and yet it remains a blind spot while articulating sustainable urban policy.This book explores the historical and on-going influence of religion on urban planning, design, space utilisation, urban identities and communities. It argues that the conceptual and empirical approaches to planning sustainable cities in India need to be developed out of analytical concepts that define local sense of place and identity. Examining how Hindu religious heritage, beliefs and religiously influenced planning practices have impacted on sustainable urbanisation development in Jaipur and Indian cities in general, the book identifies the challenges and opportunities that ritualistic and belief resources pose for sustainability. It focuses on three key aspects: spatial segregation and ghettoisation; gender-inclusive urban development; and the nexus between religion, nature and urban development. This cutting-edge book is one of the first case studies linking Hindu religion, heritage, urban development, women and the environment in a way that responds to the realities of Indian cities. It opens up discussion on the nexus of religion and development, drawing out insightful policy implications for the sustainable urban planning of many cities in India and elsewhere in South Asia and the developing world.
The CityForm consortium’s latest book, Dimensions of the Sustainable City, is the first book to report on an empirical multi-disciplinary study specifically designed to address urban sustainability. Drawing together the various dimensions of sustainability – economic, social, transport, energy and ecological – the book examines their relationships both to each other and to urban form. The book investigates the sustainability dimensions of cities through a series of projects based on a common list of elements of urban form, and which draw on the consortium’s latest research to review the sustainability issues of each dimension. The elements of urban form include density, land use, location, accessibility, transport infrastructure and characteristics of the built environment. The book also addresses issues such as adapting cities, psychological and ecological benefits of green space and sustainable lifestyles, each presenting a critical review of the relevant literature followed by an empirical analysis presenting the key results. Based on studies across five UK cities, the book draws out findings of relevance to sustainable cities worldwide. As well as an invaluable reference to researchers in sustainable planning and urban design, the book will provide a useful text for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses and for policy makers dealing with these issues. The CityForm consortium is a multi-disciplinary group of researchers from five universities funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council from 2003-07.
Looking at the evolution of the Arab city from an urban design perspective, Anthony Kiet discusses the cultural impacts of westernization and how they are affe cting urban form. He shows us how the Western planning model seems to be contributing to the creation of a modern antithesis of the traditional Arab city.
The concept of Smart City embraces several definitions depending on the meanings of the word “smart”: intelligent city , knowledge city , ubiquitous city , sustainable city , digital city , etc. Many definitions of Smart City exist, but no one has been universally acknowledged yet. From literature analysis it emerges that Smart City and Digital City are the most used terminologies in literature to indicate the smartness of a city. This Chapter explores the literature about Smart City and Digital City from 1993 to the end of 2012 in order to investigate how these two concepts were born, how they have developed, which are the shared features and differences between them. To accomplish with these goals, three steps were followed: (1) to set up a search strategy for systematic literature review to collect a representative subset of papers about Smart City and Digital City using Google Scholar; (2) to store the selected subset in an ad-doc database to synthesize the literature review; (3) to organize the literature review subset to extract quantitative and qualitative data and information about Smart City and Digital City evolution. The author proposes a literature review taxonomy through five specific analysis: (1) time analysis, to explore the causes of the trend of Smart City and Digital City literature in the latest twenty years; (2) terminology analysis, to examine how and where these two ideas were born and what have been the main events influenced their development; (3) definitions analysis, to select and compare the most cited and validated definitions of Smart City and Digital City trying to identify similarities, differences or overlaps between these two concepts; (4) typology analysis, to investigate if Smart City and Digital City are included into a specific urban strategy pursued by government or if they face specific urban problems without a comprehensive framework; (5) geographic analysis, to understand where are the largest concentrations of Smart Cities and Digital Cities in the world and which are their main characteristics and best practices.
Urban form and settlement patterns have changed dramatically in Saudi Arabia as a result of increased wealth and a shift to an urban services-based economy. Traditional Saudi urban form reflected climatic and social-religious constraints. Recent developments have followed Western urban forms that largely ignore tradition. The gemeinschaft-gesellschaft model is proposed as an approach to unite traditional and recent urban forms into a coherent physical settlement.