Volume 27, Issue 1 (2021)

Hassan ABDEL-SALAM - Head of Department of Architectural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Alexandria University

APJ continues to be an active platform that hosts scientific articles from different topics related to Architecture and Planning. It is providing a real stimulus and opportunities to consider the truly interdisciplinary nature of the two domains. This role is becoming more and more significant and eminent at a time of great change across the wider context of Built Environments and urban lifestyles globally. Through its successive issues, the journal aspires to be informative, engaging, and together integrative and inspiring. The content that APJ forwards is helping to understand and to debate diverse thoughts, viewpoints and prospects on multiple issues and complex parameters. Special emphasis is placed on architectural perspectives and urban frameworks found in the Middle East region, the larger Third World and beyond. The comprehensive and contemporary discourse that this journal pursues is pertinent to the specialists’ dynamic experiences, opinions, focused studies, analyses, critical reviews, and in-depth inquiries. Herein, a broad range of researchers demonstrate a sound theoretical and methodological underpinning and a clear contribution to understanding and appraisal of current needs, priorities and pressing challenges in the field.

The set of papers that appear in this issue, carefully prepared either individually or collaboratively, offer valuable insights and make a substantial contribution to the development of thoughts, knowledge and awareness on specific subjects and topics. The discussions cover two broad domains:

I. Urban Design and planning of cities, social public spaces, conserving local identity, reconstruction of urban areas, and environmental management.

II. Architectural trends and directed solutions that build up contemporary responsive approaches towards sustainability, efficiency, resilience and user-friendliness.

Together, the writings reflect intricate relationships operating within and between the above fields, with complex dynamics and multiple tiers of considerations revealed within each field that the authors of this volume discuss. The following is a concise overview of the notions presented respectively:

The first research paper introduces the notion of subterranean architecture as a flexible, secure and protective alternative needed in over-populated cities, in order to provide underground space and more settled environment. The second paper examines the impact of urban sprawl in larger cities on the identity of suburbs and environmental quality of rural areas. It draws attention to the cities’ rapid encroachment on the countryside and the emergence of new patterns of communities, micro-economics and living environments. Next, the third paper explores the qualities of child-friendly spaces. Focusing on children needs and requirements in low-income neighborhoods, it is seeking a better approach to enhance the responsiveness and performance of outdoor play areas. The fourth research paper addresses the threatened built heritage in conflict areas and cities. It explores new design approaches to revive the damaged historic buildings in post-disaster times. In the aftermath of the tragic explosion in Beirut Seaport, the research draws on principles of restoration, adaptive re- formation and collective social engagement in order to foster urban resilience. The fifth paper revisits the inseparable relation between architecture and water in coastal cities. It explores innovative concepts of using water features in contemporary architecture, and designers’ visions for achieving a place-specific utopia.

The next four papers are moving into a more philosophic outlook, presenting a debate that is grounded in theory, re-visiting architectural perspectives, allegories and re-thinking basic conceptions. The sixth research paper has an attempt at the regeneration of a new spatial delineation ideology. It aims at detecting an approach to revive dystopian paranoid sites, by avoiding social and psychological disruption of architectural space from its surrounding context. The seventh paper is testing a new educational method to enhance students’ sketching skills. It is based on action-research directed at enhancing the learning prospects through promoting the visualization skills and appraisal of quality in students’ output. Reverting to current concerns in urban residential areas, the eighth paper discusses the hazards and pollution caused by solid waste landfill. It reveals the damages inflicted on the surrounding physical context, and on human health and wellbeing. The final ninth paper has a critical review of the performance of large cities at the present time. It advocates new interventions promoting social life, guided by designing social batteries, which will act as instruments / initiators of utopian socio-spatial reconstruction of the neoliberal city.

With the release of every new issue, APJ broadens its mission with commitment and vigor. It is promoting its role in extending dialogues, sharing views, explaining techniques, and ultimately connecting experiences and approaches. I hope the readers of this volume will find its contents of interest, significance and immediate relevance to their work, study and/or practice. I am confident that the scientific work / material presented in this set of papers would constitute a valuable resource to them, and provide grounds to support further research and investigations in the future.


Al Hadi Taha, Marwan Halabi, Hiba Mohsen, and Bahaa El Dine Abou El Khoudoud


Shadi Osta, Marwan Halabi, and Maged Youssef

Guest Editor

Head of Department of Architectural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Alexandria University