Informal Settlements Sustainable Development: Comfort Level Enhancements through the Micro-Scale Intervention, Metamorphic Shutters, and Its Effect on the Built Environment of Cairo

Farres Yasser

The sustainable development of the built environment through informal settlements may introduce itself through micro-scale architectural interventions. This research’s aim is to inspect whether the Metamorphic Shutters intervention can have a positive effect on the built environment through improving thermal comfort levels. The consideration of the residents’ socio-economic dimensions was foundational to try and improve their overall quality of life using this simple intervention. The Literature suggests that the key problem with these interventions which have been designed before is the lack of economic and practical efficiency for informal settlement users due to them using expensive and inaccessible materials whilst using complicated construction methods. This makes it difficult for the interventions to be realized and repeated in informal settlements. Moreover, they concentrate solely on the lighting level enhancements rather than the effect of that on thermal comfort levels.

The Metamorphic shutters (MS) are rotatable horizontal louvers installed in window draft casements. The intervention's 2 main objective was to quantitatively test the possible thermal comfort and lighting level outcomes of the MS by controlling the amount of direct light which enters the room. The second objective was to qualitatively understand the end user’s subjective perception of the intervention’s practicality, lighting and thermal comfort outcomes. Finally, the final objective was to test the MS after particular modifications were made based on the end users’ request to increase the amount of daylight entering the rooms. Both an experimental and mixed method approach-with both quantitative and subtle and subsidiary qualitative data-were used to carry out the research. The qualitative data was gathered by interviewing a sample of informal residents before and after the intervention’s construction and installation whilst the Quantitative data was gathered by monitoring the Metamorphic Shutters’ performance.

It is important to mention that the conclusions found that the Metamorphic Shutters had high and mediocre levels of thermal comfort level improvements which varied for both summer and winter due to the amount of direct sun light which the experiment room received. These are not solely a result of the residents’ control over the shutters but also-to a large extent-an effect of the building orientation and of the neighboring buildings’ heights which obscure sunlight during certain time periods of the day and during different periods of the year.


Sustainable Development; Settlments; Metamorphic Shutters; Built Environment


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