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. 


15 June 2023 Registration opens
15 July 2023 Early Registration and abstract revision deadline
1 September 2023 Conference registration deadline for presenters
1 October 2023. COVID related refund requests deadline
1 November 2023 Full paper submission deadline (for consideration in the WPS)
1 December 2023 Notification of acceptance in Working Paper Series
15 December 2023 Submission of presentation decks
5-9 January 2024 IASTE conference program
10 January 2024 Complimentary post-conference tour

Registration will open on 15 June 2023. Please log in to Oxford Abstract to register to the conference and pay the registration fees: REGISTER NOW
Registration Fees

*Student Registration $250
*Late Student Registration (after 15 July 2023) $350
General Registration $450
Late General Registration (after 15 July 2023) $550
**Spouse Registration $250
**Late Spouse Registration (after 1 September 2023) $350

* Student rate accommodates current students with valid student identification ** Spouse rate is applicable to non-presenting spouses and partners of conference presenters

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
Heritage Commission
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, Riyadh Region Municipality, Director of Urban Studies and Development. 
Mashary Al-Naim, Professor of Architecture and Director of the National Built Heritage Center at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University.
Haifa Alhababi, Saudi Urban Heritage, Tangible and Intangible Heritage Consultant 
Mohammed Bagader, Associate Professor of Architecture at Umm Al-Qura University.
Khalid Alshahrani, Urban Heritage Protection and Oversight Director at the Heritage Commission
Asma Albasher, Urban Heritage Documentation and Registry Specialist at the Heritage Commission
Adnan Aljaber, Director of Research and Documentation of Urban Heritage at the Heritage Commission.
Fahad Alotaibi, Advisor at Architecture and Design Commission & 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, Cecilia Chu, Lyndsey Deaton, Joseph Godlewski, Mui Ho, Gehan Selim, Tanu Sankalia, Bülent Batuman, Heba E Safey Eldeen, Debbie Whelan, Bedour Braker , Ashraf Salama, Jyoti Pandey Sharma, Mais Jafari , Abdelaziz Alosaimi, Dietrich Neumann, Gareth Doherty, Amita Sinha, Fahad Alotaibi, Manu Sobti, Mai AlAnsari , Huaqing Huang ,Tiago Castela, Priya Joseph, Andrzej Piotrowski, Jorge Figueira, Joe Aranha

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.

All conference and post conference tours and trips are included.

Tour 1: King Abdulaziz Historical Centre + The Saudi National Museum
The first part of the tour includes visiting the observatory deck in 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 place in King Abdulaziz Historical Centre, located in the heart of Riyadh. The guided walking tour will start by visiting the National Museum, which presents a comprehensive historical narrative of the region. It contains eight galleries, each represents a different time period that takes visitors on an extended journey through an informative historical adventure. The tour will then continue to King Abdulaziz foundation (Darat al-Malik Abdulaziz), and will end by visiting Al-Murabba Palace (the first Royal palace built outside the walls of old Riyadh). 
Duration: 3.5 hours 

Tour 2: At-Turaif District, Diryiah 
The tour explores the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif district, which was the royal residence and seat of governance for the First Saudi State. In this district you will travel through time and learn about significant milestones in the history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At-Turaif district offers a unique opportunity to see the style of ancient Najdi architecture, and explore its castles and buildings that were built using adobe and palm stems. During the tour you will visit a few specialized exhibitions on the daily life back in the day. The tour will include dinner.
Duration: 3.5 hours 

Tour 3: King Abdullah Financial District 
This tour explores an iconic destination known for its world-class architecture. King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) showcases how architecture, nature, art, and entertainment collide to redefine urban living. Covering an area of 17+ million square feet (1.6 million Square meters), it was designed by more than 25 world renowned architects, and it is the first LEED platinum certified urban district in the world. During the guided tour you will explore the architecture and urban design of the district, visit the Grand Mosque, the Conference Centre, and the Financial Plaza. The tour will end with dinner provided by the hosts in the district. 
Duration: 2.5 hours 

POST-CONFERENCE TOUR ( Complimentary )
Ushaiger Traditional Town and Al Qasab Salt Flats
Located 125 miles (200 km) Northeast of Riyadh, Ushaiger is a prime example of residents’’ efforts to conserve local heritage. Visitors will have the opportunity to witness traditional Najdi architecture and town planning firsthand. The village is divided into districts and bisected by groves of palm trees, and includes a cluster of beautifully renovated houses. In addition to several old mosques, local shops, and houses, the tour will include a visit to AlSalem museum. On the way to Ushaiger, participants will have the opportunity to visit the Qasab Salt Flats to observe the natural extraction and processing of salt in the desert. During this tour, lunch will be provided by the host. 
Duration: 7 hours 

The conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Riyadh RDC Hotel & Convention located in the Digital City.

The conference local committee has secured special room rates available from 4-10 January, 2024 at the following hotels:

1- Crowne Plaza Riyadh Rdc Hotel & Convention
This is where the conference venue is. Conference attendees are provided with a special rate of $120 per room per night (including breakfast).

2- Centro Waha by Rotana
Located on Olaya Street, and close to the conference venue. Estimated travel time to the conference venue is seven minutes (shuttle bus transport to the main venue will be provided). Conference attendees are provided with a special rate of $60 per room per night (including breakfast).

Making a reservation (rates are applicable for 4-10 January 2024):
1- The Crowne Plaza Hotel: use this link to make a reservation. Please note that while the rates shown on the reservation page do not reflect the special rate, you will only be charged for $120 per room per night upon check-in. Please click on the “i” (information) icon next to “Riyadh Municipality” for more details.

2- Centro Waha by Rotana: Contact the hotel directly at Res.centrowaha@rotana.com.(Reservations will be charged upon arrival)

Application process for a Saudi visa varies depending on the applicant’s country of origin. International. visitors from 49 countries are eligible to apply for an immediate electronic visa. Please check the requirements on https://www.visitsaudi.com/en/travel-regulations, which will also guide you through the process of issuing your visa. Apply for your visa through the Evisa portal or Saudi Arabian embassies and consulates.

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