There is no doubt that globalization and the borderless dissemination of information due to new communication technologies have had significant impacts on cities all over the world. This change can be particularly observed in the built environment of more traditional societies with conservative social structures and values.  However, as we have learned from previous IASTE conferences, values are everchanging and identities can never be fixed. It is precisely this dynamism of culture and tradition that we seek to explore further. In fact, previous IASTE conferences focused on the sweeping changes of globalization and its effects on traditions, both in the socio-economic sphere as evident by the conferences: “The End of Tradition?” in Italy, “Post Traditional Environments in a Post Global World” in Dubai, “Whose Tradition?” in Malaysia, and “Legitimating Tradition” in Kuwait.

The theme of IASTE 2024 to be held in Riyadh is titled “The Dynamism of Tradition”. It builds on IASTE’s definition of tradition as “a dynamic project for the reinterpretation of the past in light of the present and often in the service of the future.”  We refer to the adaptability and continuity of tradition to evolve as a legitimate manifestation of the socio-cultural and socioeconomic spheres through space and time. We aim to spark a dialogue on the process of understanding how traditions emerge in the current modern world and how they may have changed over a short period of time to deal with the rapid pace of globalization and information technology in the 21st century.  We wish to assess which traditions can or should be sustained or discarded and by whom?  By placing tradition under critical examination, and focusing on the vulnerable reality of traditional environments, we hope to go beyond the standard preservation and conservation approaches and dig deeper into how traditions are invented and reinvented, and what traditions represent as part of the dynamic project of creating the future.  

The organizers of IASTE 2024 invite participants to closely examine the capacity of which traditions can mitigate the tensions between past cultural legacies and present policies to make different futures. By examining the role of tradition to encapsulate, mitigate, and inform such tension, for this conference we encourage participants to submit papers that consider a wider spectrum of issues that relate to the dynamism of tradition. As in past IASTE conferences, we invite scholars, professionals, and practitioners from anthropology, archaeology, architecture, architectural history, conservation, design, folklore, geography, history, planning, urban design, landscape architecture, urban studies, and related disciplines to submit papers that address one of the following tracks:

Is tradition viewed as synonymous with all that is retrogressive? Or is it dynamic and forever recharging itself? IASTE has always defined tradition as a dynamic political project for the reinterpretation of past norms and practices in the service of the present, and as projections of future needs and desires. From this perspective, tradition must also be seen as “dynamic”. Accordingly, such dynamic traditions will always depend on time and space, and in a technological fast-moving world it has become clear that traditions as place-based or temporally situated concepts is a static authoritative position that belongs to history.  Papers in this track are invited to question the variables that constitute the constant state of change in traditions and address to what extent are societies able to invent and re-invent traditions.

From a historical perspective, changes in peoples’ behavior are much slower than changes in the built environment.  Is this still the case in the era of globalization with its evolving communication technologies and social media?  These new innovations have expedited the dynamism of peoples’ interactions with each other and hence their behavior and brought different cultures closer to each other. Papers in this track should address the impact of such dynamic socio-spatial practices in shaping contemporary built environments and in guiding their future.

As with previous IASTE conferences, IASTE members and scholars who have produced new and innovative work on popular, vernacular, indigenous, spontaneous, and other forms of traditional dwellings andsettlements, that may not directly address the theme of the conference, are also invited to participate in this open track. Papers in this track will be selected on the basis of quality and will be assigned with other similar papers in theme sessions.

Over the past few years, IASTE conferences have included special sessions and panels related to conference themes, collectively organized or sponsored by specific groups or institutions. Such proposals are welcomeagain in 2024 to facilitate outreach to researchers from disciplines not normally engaged with IASTE or to introduce new topics or debates. 


May 1st, 2023 …………………..Deadline for abstract submission
June 15th, 2023 ………………..Notification of Acceptance of abstracts
September 1st, 2023 …………Deadline for Registration
November 1st, 2023 ……………Deadline for Paper submission
January 5-9, 2024………………..Conference
January 10th, 2024.……………..Complimentary post-conference tour

Please refer to our website (iaste.org) for detailed instructions on abstract submissions. A one-page abstract of 500 words and a one-page CV are required.  For further inquiries, please email IASTE at coordinator@iaste.org. Proposals for complete panels of four to five papers are also welcome. Please indicate the track in which the panel fits. Panel submissions must include an overall abstract in addition to abstracts and CVs from all proposed speakers. IASTE may accept the panel as a whole or only accept individual abstracts and place them in appropriate tracks. All papers must be written and presented in English. 

Contributors whose abstracts are accepted must preregister for the conference, pay the registration fee of $450 (which includes IASTE membership for 2024), and expected to prepare a full-length paper of 20-25 double-spaced pages.  Registered students and spouses may qualify for a reduced registration fee of $250 (which also includes IASTE membership for 2024). Please note that expenses associated with hotel accommodations, travel, and additional excursions are not covered by the registration fee and must be paid directly to the hotel or designated travel agent. The registration fee covers the conference program, conference abstracts, and access to all conference activities, theme sessions, keynote plenary talks, receptions, and a walking/bus tour of the city.


Riyadh Region Municipality
College of Architecture and Planning, King Saud University
Ministry of Culture
University of Oregon


His Highness Prince Faysal Bin Ayyaf Al-Mogren, Mayor of Riyadh Region, Honorary Conference Chair
Mark Gillem, University of Oregon, IASTE President and Conference Director
Hesham Issa, Cairo University, IASTE Secretary General and Conference Co-Director
Hamad Alsaiari, Riyadh Region Municipality, Local Conference Director
Nezar AlSayyad, U.C. Berkeley, IASTE Emeritus President and Sessions Committee Chair
Montira Horayangura, UNESCO, IASTE Vice President
Adnya Sarasmita, IASTE Conference Coordinator
Abdulaziz Alosaimi, Riyadh Region Municipality, Local Conference Coordinator

Hamad Alsaiari, General Manager of the Department for Urban Studies
Mashary Al-Naim, Professor of Architecture and Director of the National Built Heritage Center at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University.
Haifa Alhababi, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Prince Sultan University.
Mohammed Bagader, Associate Professor of Architecture at Umm Al-Qura University.
Bader Alhamdan, Director of Urban Heritage at the Ministry of Culture.
Adnan Aljaber, Consultant of Urban Heritage at the Ministry of Culture.
Fahad Alotaibi, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Al-Qassim University.
Abdulaziz Alosaimi, Riyadh Region Municipality & Assistant Professor of Architecture at King Saud University.
Abdullah Alkadi (Advisory Member) Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University.

Nezar AlSayyad, Chair, Mohamed Gamal Abdelmonem, Heba Ahmed, Howayda Al-Harithy, Mohamad Al-Jassar, Anne Marie Broudehoux, Flavia Brito do-Nascimento, Cecilia Chu, Lyndsey Deaton, Joseph Godlewski, Mui Ho, Chee-Kien Lai, Ashraf Salama, Gehan Selim, Tanu Sankalia, Ipek Tureli.

Three awards will be given for papers presented to the conference: the Jeffrey Cook Award for the best paper by a scholar dealing with traditional dwellings; the Eleni Bastea Award for the best paper on an urban Issue; and the IASTE- Berkeley Prize for the best paper by a student or junior scholar.  The winners will receive a monetary award, and their papers will be published in the IASTE journal Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review (TDSR) after appropriate review and revision.  Eligible papers should be concerned with the subject of traditional dwellings and settlements in a manner that challenges traditional scholarship as explained per the different award categories.

The King Abdulaziz Historical Centre is an incredible representation of traditional Saudi Arabian and Riyadh architecture. Not only does it contain the Darat al-Malik Abdulaziz, the King Abdulaziz Mosque, and Al-Murabba Palace, it also houses the National Museum which offers a captivating account of the region’s history.

The first part of the walking tour will take participants to the Alfaysaliah tower, designed by Sir Norman Foster, which offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the entire city. The second half of the tour will take the participants to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Turaif and the Diryiah project, which is considered one of the most extensive historic preservation projects in the world.

Located in the north of Riyadh, Ushaiger is a prime example of efforts to conserve local heritage. Visitors will have the opportunity to witness traditional Najdi architecture and town planning firsthand. The tour will include a visit to the Qasab Salt Flats.

The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, a 5-star hotel in the heart of Riyadh. Conference attendees will have a special rate of $150 per night for the duration of the conference. 

Mailing Address and Inquiries:
IASTE 2024
International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments

207 East 5th Avenue, STE 258, Eugene, OR  97401
Phone: (+1) 541-712-7832  
Email: coordinator@iaste.org
Website: https://iaste.org