Vernacular Architecture in Arid Climates: Adaptation to Climate Change

  • Nadia Samia Daoudi
  • Djamel Mestoul
  • Samia Lamraoui
  • Aicha Boussoualim
  • Luc Adolphe
  • Rafik Bensalem


People working in the field of vernacular architecture located in arid zones acknowledge that these settlements have developed urban and architectural morphologies well adapted to the extreme physical environment. They identify adaptive features in urban and architectural patterns, cohesive social structure, and finally, adaptive behaviors derived from an indigenous “know-how.”

On the other hand, field research in climate change affirms that the human groups most exposed to climate change are those located in developing countries; the Saharan vernacular settlements testify to this assertion. Nevertheless, as regards adaptability to climate change, the indigenous people of the Sahara retain specific knowledge concerning resilient eco-systems. Furthermore, it is recognized that this indigenous knowledge plays a significant role in maintaining local socio-ecologic systems which contribute to socially responsible resilience toward sustainability.

This study highlights the role of social cohesion in implementing pro-environmental behavior and adaptive actions to reduce the negative effects of climate change on indigenous communities of the northern Sahara. We base this argument on the results of in-situ investigations with the objective of comprehending and evaluating the indigenous knowledge and adaptive capacities of desert oasis dwellers to both ordinary and extreme weather situations stemming from climate change. The case studies are Algerian Saharan vernacular settlements of the M’Zab Valley and of the Gourara region.


Socially responsible resilience Pro-environmental behavior Saharan vernacular settlements Climate change Sustainability 



We want to thank Mrs. Leslie Belay for helping in the writing process.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadia Samia Daoudi
    • 1
  • Djamel Mestoul
    • 1
  • Samia Lamraoui
    • 1
  • Aicha Boussoualim
    • 1
  • Luc Adolphe
    • 2
  • Rafik Bensalem
    • 1
  1. 1.Polytechnic School of Architecture and Urban PlanningAlgiersAlgeria
  2. 2.National Superior School of ArchitectureToulouseFrance

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