Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


The purpose of this review is to promote a framework for the diversification of the built environment, where adequate human shelter can be more readily available. Shelter will be required as the effects of climate change impact more people around the world. The commonalities that are shared among these structures worldwide give reason, as to their importance, and as humans begin to familiarize themselves with descent culture; models for sustainable living that are found in nature. (Holmgren, 2002) Vernacular structures prove that it is possible to build safe, dependable and cost-effective shelter without negatively impacting the surrounding environment. These structures require further analysis, as they have mutualistic relationships with their immediate environment. The review looks at how planning systems can benefit by embracing the diverse methods of construction found in vernacular structures, and considers the possibility of putting forward a framework of holistic design and planning, that includes these structures. Additionally, current trends in development promote a universal architecture, which is one of the main causes of environmental degradation. The review concludes by focusing on international efforts in tackling environmental degradation, through the important and highly publicized issue of “Sustainable Development”, and provides insight as to the recent negligence of vernacular structures.