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The bedouintent in comparison with UAE housing provision
Published in
Volume: 36
Issue: 4
Pages: 82 - 97
From time immemorial until about a generation ago, the UAE desert-roaming Bedouins were living in tents (hair houses) which they themselves had innovated, constructed and elaborated. They had done this in such a way as to ensure that their practical need for accommodation was met, that the constraints of their physical environment were taken into account, and that their own social and religious obligations could be discharged. Then almost overnight the tents disappeared and with them the way of life they represented. As a consequence of the UAE government's policy in the early urbanization and resettlement of the country's nomadic population, the previous occupants of the hair houses found themselves residents of the so-called "housing areas" on the outskirts of the UAE cities and towns. The problems arising from this sudden transformation are the focus of this study which aims to demonstrate that while the resettled Bedouins turned to embrace the modern life in their new homes, they were mentally and emotionally drawn to their past lifestyle in which the hair house, more than merely providing accommodation, was an expression of personality and culture. To this end, this study documents and analyzes the southern version of the hair house (otherwise known as the "winter house"), previously the most common in the UAE desert. The study will consider not only that the hair house was a masterpiece of innovative construction suited to the Bedouin's environment and culture but also, as comparison at different levels shows, the inadequacy of the urban cement house as the Bedouin's current-day accommodation. Consequently, the study recommends that future housing projects targeted at the resettled Bedouins should be designed with a view to harmonizing the needs and requirements of contemporary life with the rich heritage of the Bedouins. In carrying out this study, the researcher has utilized a combination of research tools, primarily theoretical, descriptive and analytical together with field visits and personal interviews with former residents of the hair houses and the curators of the Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital. In contrast, as the "housing areas" are still in existence, the scope of the study is limited to the hair house which it tries to recover and reconstruct as a point of reference for the thesis of the study.
About the journal
JournalOpen House International
Open AccessNo
Concepts (5)
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