Most of the native citizens in the UAE live in public or private single-family houses. Given the tremendous cost of
developing this type of housing and the inability of providing single-family houses to cover all the current and
future needs for public housing, high-rise residential buildings seem to offer an alternative. But the question is;
does this type of housing suit the local communities in the UAE, especially in light of the failure of the previous
western experiences?. Through addressing this question, the research proposes an approach towards a community-
oriented design for high-rise residential buildings in the UAE.
The research first investigated the reasons behind the community-relevant shortcomings of the traditional
high-rise residential developments in the West. Afterwards, it briefly reviewed the status quo of the community-relevant
considerations in the design of the recently built high-rise residential buildings in the UAE, where it has been
found that little concern has been devoted to the community needs. In an effort to find an answer to this problem,
the research examined four recent design experiences as examples for the current universal efforts to design
community-responsive high-rise residential developments. Some conceptual approaches were derived from these
experiences that are envisaged to help reach an approach for the case of the UAE. Nonetheless, because of the
unique social and cultural traits of the UAE native society one cannot rely on these global conceptual approaches
alone. Instead, the research proposes an approach that, while benefiting from the relevant global experiences,
is chiefly pivoted on the vertical reconfiguration of the idea of the ‘fareej’ as the smallest unit in the residential
urban context both traditionally and in the future official urban plans in the UAE.
Keywords: fareej, high-rise, residential, community, UAE.
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