Social Housing as a State-Funded Mega Project: A Case Study from Saudi Arabia
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There are many kinds of war. They span from typical military conflicts to socially and politically charged environments, from fiscal colonization to ghostly wars about information and the internet. But what about the fear of a possible war? Could housing initiatives be connected to that? What kind of design methods and standards as well as processes would that specific case entail? What other factors would add pressure to studying and implementing housing projects in this context? What could be the possible measure of such projects’ eventual assessment? This paper is based on the assumption that fear of a spreading of the Arab Spring in the Saudi Kingdom triggered a massive state-funded housing project. The ambitious case of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Housing (MoH) will be discussed and gradually unfolded within its social, cultural, economic, and technical-design conditions. The project’s development is discussed both before its launch-conceptualization and throughout its implementation. The original insight given stems from the authors’ participation as lead urban planners in one of the major companies awarded the project .