* WALEED ALZAMIL
A house is not only the place that protects us from the external environment and provides us with privacy and security but also part of the urban environment. Housing is interconnected with surrounding facilities, roads, and places of work. The housing crisis is one of the problems which typically accompany modernization and it has been especially serious in the Middle East and among poor nations. Providing adequate housing has become the main dilemma is the Middle East governments are still facing. The population is unable to afford the cost of housing due to the prices of construction materials, land prices, and strict laws. Governments are still unable to provide housing alternatives to suit the poor and limited income.
Several options are available to deal with this phenomenon. One way to provide affordable housing is to base the solution on the analysis of the existing situation and use the analyses to derive the criteria and standards that meet the needs of the population. The second way is to use the principle of participation, where the population assists each other to build their houses. Popular participation is one successful solution to the housing crisis because it reduces the costs of formal employment. Therefore, the adequate housing becomes available for all. Other solutions based on using of building materials that are cheap and accessible to everyone. These materials are often present within the natural environment, such as clay, wood, and stones. These materials are not only cheap but also adapted to the local environment. Thus, they provide an environment suitable for the population in the summer and in the winter.
The first solution based on prefabricated housing that may not correspond with family size, family type, and family needs. Therefore, most families are trying to modify their houses where that are consistent with their needs. The second solution depends on popular participation in building a house. However, residents do not have adequate expertise to build their houses. Therefore, the final product will be poor quality. The third solution is the best solution because it depends on the exploitation of local materials from the environment for housing construction. The using of local materials is compatible with the environment, save money, and effort. Therefore, it is the most appropriate solutions to deal with the housing crisis.
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