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The reestablishment of Mosul’s city fabric: an approach to computational hybridization
Mostafa Alani, Ph.D. & Akel Ismail Kahera, Ph.D.

"Purpose – This paper aims to analyze the confluence of spatial analysis and computational design strategies to support the reestablishment of Mosul’s city housing fabric. According to an UN-Habitat report, Mosul suffered from catastrophic losses on an urban scale, resulting in a housing crisis that requires a large-scale response. However, the need for immediate shelters might lead to a rapid, uninformed reconstruction process, causing the loss of the architectural identity that the city accumulated over the years. Design/methodology/approach – The study utilizes a two-phase sequential research method. In Phase 1, the study applies space syntax techniques to transform the floor plans of the collected traditional and contemporary houses into “quantifiable data.” This phase aims to identify design criteria that capture the “spatial configuration” of both types of houses. In the subsequent phase, the study utilizes the identified design criteria to develop a genetic algorithm inspired by traditional and contemporary practices that facilitates an informed design process.

Findings – The outcome of the study indicates that informed computational synthesis can assist in generating multiplicities floor plan layouts that mimic the inner spatial configuration of existing traditional courtyard houses and contemporary noncourtyard houses. In addition, the developed genetic algorithm was able to generate hybridized design solutions that have been spatially validated.

Originality/value – The study concludes with observations linking informed computational synthesis to the postwar construction process as a remedial methodology to analyze and redesign Mosul’s city fabric in an informed, affordable and accessible fashion.

Keywords Computational design, Space syntax, Genetic algorithm, Housing, Postwar construction, Mosul"

More information about the project is here:


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“The Re-Establishment of Mosul’s City Fabric: An Approach to Computational Hybridization.” International Journal of Architectural Research (Scopus Cite Score 2.1) Mostafa Alani, Akel Kahera, 2021.

“Performatively Shaped, Traditionally Inspired Contemporary Houses: The Case of Courtyard Houses in Baghdad” Design Computation Input/Output Conference. Mostafa Alani, Zuhair Nassar, 2021. 

“Heritage at Stake: Computational Design Processes for Rescuing Mosul’s Architectural Identity.” Technopolitics. XXII International Conference of the Iberoamerican Society of Digital Graphics (SIGraDi). Mostafa Alani, 2018.

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