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Open House International, ISSN: 01682601, Volume 34, Number 1. pp: 68-74, 2009
This paper investigates factors influencing the shaping of future learning environments. It focuses on the impact of social and cultural requirements on the sustainability of future learning environment. It argues that while today's learning environments are shaped by yesterday's visions, future learning environments are shaped by toady's' visions that might not be acceptable nor valid for future generations. The case of New Kuwait University City in Shedadiyah is used to illustrate how current social and cultural requirements impact the design of a future university campus and inhibit the production of a sustainable environment. Among several socio-cultural factors, the paper focuses on two significant aspects that have dramatically affected the development of the master plan for the New University City; namely separation of students' sexes and car parking requirements. The first requirement was mandated by a parliament decree to build two separate campuses; one for male students and the other for female students. The implementation of this requirement resulted in the duplication of many educational facilities and immensely increased space and budget requirements. The second requirement reflected dependency on automobiles as primary means of transportation in Kuwait. It resulted in a necessity to allocate large areas of land for vehicular traffic and car parking. These two requirements, as well as other socio-cultural requirements, created a great challenge towards achieving the required level of sustainability. The paper concludes that while recognizing that accommodating clients' social and cultural requirements is necessary for the application of a comprehensive sustainability strategy, these requirements might work against achieving required levels of other aspects of sustainability.