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Mahmoud Alsaeed

ESR5

Architect and urban planner with more than 7 years of professional experience in engineering consultancy in one of the leading firms in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering (bac+5) from Al-Ahliyya Amman University (AAU) in Jordan and a Master of Science degree in Urban Planning and Design (MUPD) from Qatar University and, at the final phase of obtaining a second master’s degree, an M2 in International Cooperation in Urban Planning (ICUP), from Grenoble University - Institute of Planning and Alpine Geography, France.

He is certified as Green Associate (LEED GA) from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), Certified Green Professional (CGP) from Gulf Organization for Research and Development (GORD), a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and an International Associate from American Institute of Architects (AIA).

During his years of study, he published several articles and book chapter in Q1 and Q2 journals addressing sustainability and computational technology applications and role in resource management especially water and energy. His research interests lie in sustainable design and planning, smart resource management, and social housing planning.

Research topic

Updated sumaries

September, 17, 2021

Environmental sustainability and resource efficiency are vital concepts to improve and protect our planet. Both concepts are also relevant to housing design, construction and use. With the support of local housing communities, the UK social housing sector is set to increase rapidly. In the UK, housing accounts for 30 per cent of the total energy use, 27 per cent of UK carbon dioxide emissions, while at the same time, social housing forms up to 18 per cent of total housing stock. Therefore, we must reconsider new ways of building sustainable and affordable homes that improve the quality of the built environment and create better places for people to live.

 

This project addresses two challenges. On the one hand, it establishes a clearer conceptual understanding of low-cost sustainable housing by investigating the definitions, principles, and theories associated with its construction. On the other hand, it examines sustainability practices currently in use by looking at the sustainability tools, guidelines, codes, and standards for achieving low-carbon homes. Consequently, this project will answer the following questions in the UK context: how do we define and measure housing sustainability? What tools can be used to achieve low-carbon housing? How do we achieve a decarbonized housing sector?

 

A mixed methods research design will be used. Qualitative instruments, including a literature review and case studies analysis, will identify current sustainability definitions, meanings and methods of practice. Meanwhile, quantitative instruments focused on statistical reports and sustainability codes aim to review the existing assessment methods and develop a comprehensive understanding of sustainability assessment principles.

 

The planned outcome of this project is to develop a comprehensive framework that promotes the sustainability of social housing. This framework will be developed in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including local social housing communities. It will include a theoretical database that defines the theories and principles of “low-carbon design and planning of housing”; at the same, it will form a clear, practical guideline for achieving “decarbonized housing” by improving current standards and codes of practice, therefore bridging the gap between theories of housing sustainability and actual practices of housing construction in the UK.

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Polyglot researcher

Posted on 30-08-2021

"Clean up concepts, don't leave them in the soft language of ideology." François Jullien, 2017   While working on a collaborative project between the PACT laboratory in France and Michigan University in the United States, I realized that a word doesn’t necessarily have the same meaning in different languages. Worse still, it can mean the opposite, leading to a serious misunderstanding. For example, there is a fundamental difference between the definitions of urban structure in France and the United States. Some terms don’t even exist in the language of one country or the other – despite them sharing the same roots and source.   “A successful researcher must possess the ability to comprehend, dismantle and explain complex ideas.” A researcher’s skills extend beyond processes and scientific dialogues. A researcher must engage with everyone, regardless of their background. Comprehending the meanings of terms in other languages and their own is a vital skill for any researcher. They must know the etymology, differences in definitions, and the origin of the terms. Seeing beyond the obvious meaning is an acquired skill that takes time to hone   Goodwill is not enough "A false but clear and precise idea will always have more power in the world than a true but complex one." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835   Research is performed by using systematic methods to achieve specific goals and improve our lives. Maintaining trust in the good intentions of research is essential, but it is clear that many researchers today fail to touch people’s lives. Therefore, their work must be considered a failure, even if it achieves its academic objectives.   Have you ever wondered why people don’t enjoy hearing a scientist explain an important topic, such as the impact of climate change or the dangers of desertification? Most scientists use sophisticated and specialist language, with an abundance of facts and dry statistics. As these are difficult to understand, the speakers don’t capture the imagination of the audience.   Meanwhile, a YouTuber with a business degree may succeed in explaining the most complicated aspects of quantum physics and get millions of views in less than a month. (Funnily enough, I only understood the origin of dark matter after watching a 13-year-old YouTuber explaining it.) However, a highly trained and educated physicist might not manage to convince even 20 people to attend their lecture.   It’s not only the visual attraction or presentation techniques that draw people in. It’s also the type of language used, the speaker’s ability to convey meaning clearly and with simple terminology, and the vital skill of being a polyglot researcher in an era when language could either drive us apart or bring us closer together.   In the end, we must keep in mind that thinking from multi-dimensional perspectives is beneficial not only for research but also for life. What you believe to be absolute may change, and accepting those differences is the key to success. We must familiarize ourselves with terminology in related fields, too, as transdisciplinary research is the new norm. And using dictionaries is not old-fashioned!     Watch this (The Power of Words) Read this (Planning language, planning identity…) Think about this: (What does the word suburbs mean in English? And what does périurbain mean in French?)  

Reflections

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Well begun is half done!

Posted on 18-07-2021

Once in a blue moon. “RE-DWELL committee has agreed on awarding you ESR position … March 2021”, a very simple sentence but it changed everything for 15 young passionate researchers. Time runs quickly, leaving you to wonder; is this the new chapter? Am I ready? What is next?  Now I am a researcher in Marie-Curie International Training Network, which is the new fountain of knowledge not only for the new 15 Early Stage Researcher (ESRs) but for many preceding scholars. It works not only to support future researchers but also to solve the issue of social housing in a very unique and futuristic way deploying the strength of transdisciplinary research, sustainability concepts and affordability principles. Not to mention it paves our path in pursuing the success of our individual projects as part of RE-DWELL overall goals.   Well begun is half done. A few months later and on the 2nd July, we have attended our first kick-off session, followed by three comprehensive sessions, where more than 50 professionals, academics and researchers (from all over the world) have gathered for the first time. All the 15 RE-DWELLers, partners and supervisors have presented themselves in very inventive ways. Overall, the four sessions were exciting. The organizers have established a set of innovative exercises in small groups allowing everyone to meet the other RE-DWELLers and exchange the ideas and goals of the individual projects.   The ball of wool. The exercises prepared were very interactive and motivational; I have engaged with at least 12 RE-DWELLers, the level of professionalism and creativity of everyone fascinated me. Behind my 13inc screen, I met architects, urban planners, and social and political scientists and even environmental engineers engaging in very sophisticated and informed discussions, "a beehive," you might say, all of us working to understand the meaning and goals of sustainability, affordability through the eyes of transdisciplinary research. I have learned so many things in less than a couple of hours, it was my first time to paddle around "transdisciplinary" and I could say it is a deep ocean of intersecting knowledge that makes you wants more.   The heroes of 01010: Álvaro, my cam is not working! Interactive boards, separate discussion rooms, mind maps, virtual folders, and so many things were in place and ready for us, makes you wonder what incredible work and effort the organizers did. Finally, a couple of clicks on my keyboard is not enough to show appreciation to Leandro, Álvaro, Carla, Karim and everyone (with all the respect to the professional titles), but a promise to successful research outcome and a box of chocolate might help!   Thanks to everyone, and I hope to see you soon in a COVID free world.

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