Dynamic Digital Simulation of External Visual Privacy in Arab Muslim Households– A Case Study of Emirati Neighborhoods in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Research Sponsor:

MI/MIT Cooperative Program at MIT and Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi

Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT (LCAU)


Sneha Mandhan, David Birge, Alan M. Berger


In the recent years, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council have undertaken several initiatives to make sustainability central to their urban growth agendas. This research aims to operationalize the concept of sustainable development – environmental, economic, and socio-cultural - in the region and develop parameters that define its future use. In contrast with existing approaches, the project conceives examines the qualities of visual privacy that can be simulated in future design configurations for sustainability. Using native neighborhoods in Abu Dhabi as a case study, visual privacy is part of a computational toolkit, which has two other major components – a quantitative toolkit that contains modules for simulation of various aspects of environmental and economic sustainability, and a spatial toolkit that contains modules for simulation of socio-spatial practices associated with the specific social and cultural context. This paper illustrates the development and potential application of a module of the social sustainability toolkit focused on external visual privacy of native households.


International Conference of the Arab Society for Computer Aided Architectural Design ASCAAD 2016, London

Using Format