This thesis is an attempt to understand the driving forces in the formation of Islamic cities. Similarity between Islamic cities especially in their organic morphology was a result of several systems that worked coherently to produce the physical product in their built environment. In general, the thesis aims to explore and understand the systems that were behind the formation and transformation of the traditional Islamic city. In order to achieve this goal the research in particular will aim to understand Sharia as the general law that controlled people's life in the traditional city, explore the theory of the basic human needs in Sharia, study the concept of individuality in Muslims life and its reflections on the built environment, analyse the individual role verses the state role in the traditional city and establish a relationship between both parties that preserve the values of the traditional city and may be applicable within the contemporary city.
Sharia, the general law that controlled people's life in the traditional city formed an umbrella for all systems within the society including those related to land development. The main objectives of Sharia are to fulfil basic human necessities. These necessities are religion, life, property, intellect and posterity. Sharia preserved these necessities in three levels of interest. This preservation was accomplished from two sides, the State and the individual. The State is obliged to fulfil needs for all individuals according to levels of priority and according to its ability. Individuals fulfil their personal needs driven by internal motivation and by the obligations of Sharia.
The thesis raises the declining role of the individual in land development and the problem of exchanging roles between the state and the individual in land development which leads to more obligations on the state and prevents the individual from preserving his basic needs that are related to land development.
The individual represented the module of the society; and hence, the module of the built environment. This individuality appeared very clearly in the land ownership pattern of the traditional city. In the land development process individuals always enjoyed a direct access to land, which worked as a great incentive for them to develop it in order to fulfil their basic needs. On the contrary, the State controls all undeveloped land in the contemporary city and it is no longer readily accessible to any more individuals.
The author invests the great effort made by Ash Shatibi (1320 -1388) who developed the theory of Magasid Ash Sharia ( Sahria objectives) in order to create a model that relates the human basic needs to the role of the individual and the role of the state.
The model explains the balanced relationship between the State's role and the individual's role in land development in the traditional city which can be adapted in the contemporary city.
This model assumes that the two parties, state and individual, share responsibility in preserving the human basic needs, particularly in land development. But each party has a different role. The model is built on a basic needs theory driven from Sharia that classifies the needs in three categories; primary, secondary and tertiary. These needs are expressed as interests in the theory. These interests protect the five fundamental necessities that are religion, life, property, intellect and posterity.
The model suggests that the state is to exert its abilities to the utmost to provide primary needs to all individuals, lesser of secondary needs and least of tertiary needs. The state is also responsible to create the appropriate environment that enables individuals and private corporations to interact positively in order to achieve the basic needs in any of the three levels of needs. On the other hand the individuals will carry out the mission of preserving their needs driven by their own motivation. Individual's primary needs are of great importance but less in quantity, secondary needs may be higher in quantity but less important and tertiary needs are least of importance but have no ceiling quantity wise.
The thesis consists of three sections and an introduction. The first section, Individuality in traditional and contemporary city, consists of two chapters: 1) Individuality and 2) The author's experience "loss of the individual role ". The second section, Land development as a response to human basic needs, consists of three chapters: 1) Basic human needs, 2) Land development in the traditional city and 3) Role of the state verses role of the individual. The third section, Results, consists of two chapters: 1) The model and 2) Conclusion.