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By : Yasser Mahgoub

Much of modern architecture in the countries of the Gulf region is very problematic to insiders and outsiders alike. Its development during the second half of the 20th century is considered by many critics as inappropriate to the environment and culture of the region. There was a sudden break from the past traditional built environment followed by a rapid, almost instantaneous transformation to the modern built environment. This paper argues that while this process is usually discussed in terms of its social and cultural aspects, its materials and methods of construction, and its method of production and design are ignored. However, building regulations have a great impact on the formation of this built environment in general and housing in specific. This paper traces the origin, development and impact of building regulations on the development of the built environment neighbourhoods of private housing in Kuwait. It concludes that building regulations have a strong impact on the built environment more than is generally assumed. While social and cultural factors have shaped the traditional environment in a very strong way, they have failed to shape the modern environment due to the overriding impact of building regulations that were imported from other parts of the world. The paper recommends major changes to building regulations in order to allow socio-cultural and environmental factors to play a more prominent role in the shaping of the built environment in Kuwait. It also calls for the adoption of building regulations that help providing more sustainable environments for the future

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