During the first period of modern urbanization in the middle of the 20th century housing developments in Gulf cities were rather limited to detached villas for the local population, compounds for high-income expatriate families and multistory apartment blocks for labor. In recent years however the usual patterns of housing developments in the Gulf have witnessed a rapid transformation due to an extensive construction boom coupled with exponential immigration, which led to increasingly complex multicultural societies in Gulf cities. This project aims to investigate housing typologies in the context of multicultural societies by applying two major perspectives. While the architectural perspective will focus on design-related characteristics on the scale of single buildings as well as surrounding urban spaces, a human-behavioral study will focus on how new residential typologies relate to multicultural realities. The first research objective is therefore to clarify what housing typologies can be found in Gulf cities in order to classify typical housing designs and patterns. On this basis the second research objective aims to provide insights how certain housing typologies, such as high rises, affect human behavior and perception and, in turn, which cultural group is attracted to which type of housing. This will be investigated utilizing a trans-disciplinary framework relevant to lifestyle theories. The empirical research methodologies include photographic surveys and observation studies as well as face-to-face interviews with volunteering residents. Previous research projects have shown clear evidence that the supply of sufficient and attractive housing is one of the most important factors for sustainable urban growth in the Gulf. This project therefore attempts to investigate this comprehensive topic in two layers of case studies. The initial regional survey will include Kuwait City, Manama, Doha, Dammam, Abu Dhabi and Dubai in order to clarify which kind of typologies and socio-spatial realities can be found in the main metropolitan areas of the Gulf region. Subsequently, key case study areas will be identified in Qatar's capital Doha in order to apply human behavioral studies.
The anticipated results of this project include a quantitative and qualitative survey of housing typologies and designs in the Gulf region as well as in-depth investigations of how lifestyle theories can support the development of housing in multicultural societies. This enhanced understanding of different types of urban populations characterizing gulf cities can enable an effective development of housing typologies. Thus, the holistic attempt to investigate the contemporary evolution of housing in Gulf cities will be of major significance for the regional and international scientific community as well as for professionals and decision makers engaged in urban developments today.