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Around the world, many forms of fragile environments sheltered human settlements, successfully adapting to their hostile environments subject to severe environmental conditions such as Oases, a perfect example of symbiosis between humans and their sensitive environment.

Oases played a fundamental role in planning and development of arid zones and Saharan territories characterized by their harsh climatic and geomorphological conditions: low and erratic precipitation, extreme temperatures, intense luminosity, low humidity and frequent droughts.

These environments are facing economic, social and spatial transformations without considering their fragility and the precariousness of their ecosystems. That increases the obstacles and challenges for a sustainable urban development in these regions. At this stage, the development of the oases seems to be reaching its limits.

Southern Algeria is witnessing an unparalleled urban growth resulting in the conjunction between very high natural growth and a massive influx of the rural population. It contributes to accentuate the polarization of migration flows towards the cities causing a profound upheaval in the Saharan housing system and the trilogy water/ palm grove/man, which exposes the Algerian oasis cities to profound changes as well on the social, economic and spatial scales as the environmental scale.

In Oases Regions, planning and urban development actions that consider urban layouts and their oasis hinterland as two separate spatial units had never led to relevant results. Hence the need to think in the concept “built environment / natural milieu” considering the fragility and constraints of oasis environment which are not limited to urban areas, but that integrate the oasis hinterland as a whole.

New approaches are needed to achieve a qualitative leap. It is imperative to demonstrate both creativity, technical innovation and realism to ensure the sustainable development of these oasis environments in order to recover the old symbiosis “built environment and natural milieu“.

The main objective of the symposium is to review the current state of art and discuss most innovative experiences, approaches, techniques and research results for a sustainable development of fragile environments in general and oases environments as a particular case.

Researchers, academics, practitioners, policymakers and officials from relevant local and international institutions are invited to share their experiences and ideas during the international symposium ” Built environments in the oasis milieu, challenges and prospects for sustainable development “ that will be held to Biskra on December 2nd to 4th, 2019 and submit their contributions.

The Symposium will address the following areas, exploring the latest research in the following themes:

Topic 1 : Oasis and the Saharan Territory, form culture and environment. The logic of human occupation in Saharan territories, local expertise of local populations, lessons learned from experiences and prospects for developing these experiences in the context of sustainability.

Topic 2 :Making of the Saharan city, raises the logic of the formation and production of human settlements in the Sahara through history: the popular, colonial, voluntarist and informal logic. Review and reread urban planning instruments and analytical approaches on the design of the city and its natural environment. It is a question of reconsidering the old symbiosis “city / palm grove”.

Topic 3 : From the oasis ecosystem to the urban ecosystem, define the oasis ecosystem to understand its logic and its functioning as resulting from the trilogy water-palm-human settlement. Establish a comparative and analytical approach on the possibility of its evolution or development or transformation into an urban ecosystem.

Topic 4 : Local development of oasis environments interested in new approaches, experiences, strategies and economic development projects in these areas. Tourism as an alternative for local development and as a tool for enhancing the image of cities, settlements and urban or natural landscapes. We are also interested in the involvement of the oasis society in the process of development, which has produced in its past an oasis dynamic by an autarkic economy “local agriculture” that is manifested in the phoeniciculture.

Topic 5:  Tools and methods for assessing the built environment in fragile areas: The main objective of the topic is to expose the tools and methods developed recently and used by researchers in the architectural and urban field, to improve the assessment of buildings in fragile areas. These methods are more than simple environmental assessment tools used by actors in the architectural and urban environment, but the key decisions in the built environment with environmental principles are based on the results of these tools and methods.

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