The city of Cairo has witnessed novel housing transformations by the government since the introduction of informal settlements in the 1960s. Despite the heavy subsidisation of these public housing settlements, otherwise known as social housing projects, which are partly payed for by the government yet still are regarded as expensive compared to the informal settlements housing unit counterpart. Informal settlement housing units have succeeded over public housing units basically by imposing an entirely organised city without the surveillance of formal institutes whether economically, socially or through mobile networks. Despite the successful functioning areas of informal settlements, they receive much negativity for their existence as being centres of energy consumption, social and environmental degradation. Currently, there is a gap in understanding how the highly dense urban clusterings of informal settlement buildings and their architectural features affect sustainable development. Public housing settlements are portrayed and marketed as the solution to informal housing complications despite their unsubstantiated design methodologies which do not coincide with many of the design considerations needed. This also raises the question of whether they can contribute to the overall and particular level of contribution to Cairo’s sustainable development through comfort levels such as thermal gains and losses. The objective set were to discover the existing comfort levels of thermal gains and losses in both public housing settlements and informal housing settlements. The second objective was to gain information from professionals and residents which have experience with informal and public housing settlements on which settlement type is more comfortable in terms of thermal gains and losses. A mixed method approach was used to carry out the research, the quantitative data represented the existing thermal gains and losses using Ecotect simulation models of a selected public housing and an informal settlement sample in South-West Cairo. The qualitative data were collected using semi-structured interviews with informal settlement residents and professionals of various professional backgrounds with experience in informal settlements. It is important to mention that the conclusions found that informal settlements have poor, mediocre and good levels of sustainable development in terms of thermal gains and losses in various subdivisions due to their architectural and urban uniqueness which public housing settlements lack. These are not solely a result of the residents control over the many architectural or urban variables involved despite their awareness of them, yet it is also—to a large extent—affected by the obligatory situations and dispositions they face such as economic difficulties, land plot size, lack of professional intervention and the absence of building regulations.
- Urban fabric
- Sustainable development
- Solar light
- Day light and discomfort hours
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Yasser, F. (2019). Learning from Informal Settlements’ Architectural and Urban Features: A Study of Comfort Levels in Both Informal and Public Housing Settlements. In: Alalouch, C., Abdalla, H., Bozonnet, E., Elvin, G., Carracedo, O. (eds) Advanced Studies in Energy Efficiency and Built Environment for Developing Countries. Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-10856-4_10
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