Social sustainability assessment and reconsideration in mass housing design: A case study in the United Arab Emirates

Baraah Moutaz Hamdoon, Khaled Galal Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Sustainable urban development represents a major challenge across the world for both developed and developing countries. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), sustainable urban development has been increasingly influential on the recent trends in urban planning in general and mass housing in specific. To trace this challenging trend, especially on the social sustainability level that received little attention so far, the research examined the consideration of the main social sustainability principles in the design of Sha'ab Al Ashkhar, a recent mega mass housing neighborhood in Al Ain city. To facilitate this investigation, the researchers first developed a theoretical framework for the main relevant principles and indicators of socially sustainable neighborhoods. In this framework, five main principles and their related indicators were identified as derived from relevant global literature including density, mixed-use, mobility, accessibility, and special connectivity and integration. A mixed qualitative/quantitative research method was applied to assess the social sustainability indicators of the selected case study neighborhood. The investigation tools included map/design analysis, field observations, and spatial syntactic analysis of the urban form of the neighborhood. The findings of the analyses revealed that two principles out of five principles of social sustainability in Sha'ab Al Ashkhar neighborhood have not been achieved (mixed-use and spatial connectivity and integration), while the remaining principles have been partially or poorly achieved. It is believed that the outcomes of the research have given a clearer understanding of the achieved level of social sustainability in Al Sha'ab Al Ashkahr neighborhood design, as a very recent mass housing design model. Accordingly, the research recommended a set of contextual design guidelines that are envisaged to help achieve social sustainability in mass housing projects in the UAE and maybe other countries in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number210007
JournalAIP Conference Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 27 2023
Event7th World Multidisciplinary Civil Engineering-Architecture-Urban Planning Symposium, WMCAUS 2022 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: Sept 5 2022Sept 9 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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