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New Publication. Habitat: Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet

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Habitat: Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet, a large format publication, gathers together an international team of more than one hundred leading experts across a diverse range of disciplines to examine what the traditions of vernacular architecture and its regional craftspeople around the world can teach us about creating a more sustainable future.

With over 1000 illustrations and organised by the five major climate zones, covering polar, temperate, tropical, desert and continental, and more than eighty countries worldwide, the book reveals how people and cultures have adapted to their environment to make the best use of indigenous materials and construction techniques, and stresses the importance of preserving disappearing craftsmanship and local knowledge before it is too late.

HABITAT is also the first global review of traditional knowledge systems carried out over the last twenty years and it represents the first holistic review of endogenous technologies in context of ecosystems. 

Endogenous technologies are the first climate technologies, developed through millennia by indigenous communities in response to climate, natural resources and local needs. Historically, they embraced a diverse range of sectors, water management, forestry and agriculture to infrastructure and the built environment.

Since 1970, socio-economic changes have led to the decline of these technologies and it has become apparent that sometimes imported foreign technologies and solutions are not passing the test of time. Growing vulnerability of some regions due to adverse climate change effects, political as well as economic instability means that there is a pressing need to adapt endogenous technologies in developing countries in order to build local resilience.  Use of regional materials, labour and adaptation of local “know how“ will provide impactful and cost-effective solutions for a long term self-sufficient sustainable development model.

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HABITAT is published in the UK by Thames & Hudson, the USA by Abrams, France by Flammarion, Germany by Edition DETAIL and Spain by Blume.

Picture: River-flooded homes in the United States of America © Fotofeeling/Westend 61/ Superstock, courtesy Thames & Hudson

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