The Oases of the Saharan and Arabic deserts are the product of a delicate balance, the result of virtuous and durable interaction between social, environmental, agricultural and architectural factors. Many Oases today face the concrete risk of extinction, depopulated by emigration, made uninhabitable by phenomena such as diminishing water resources, salinization, soil degradation, and silting. These processes, which Global Warming has exacerbated, are the result of human malpractice, in many ways ascribable to the loss of local, traditional knowledge and skills. The people of the desert, under the combined pressure of climate change and the inappropriate modernization of practices and lifestyles, are threatened by the possibly definitive disappearance of their habitat, a legendary stronghold of civilization.

In the Oases, it is for the control over water, its ownership and right of use, that conflicts and subsequent adjustments have taken place. Hence, the body of shared rules and customs, which has made life possible in such harsh climates, was created. To this day, no matter how in decline they may seem, the traces of those ancient hierarchies, roles, institutions that are the product of that history, can still be seen in the fabric of the communities’ social order.

Irrigation, the addition of organic matter, cultivation, all these practices have improved the original composition of soils, their physical-chemical profile, ensuring fertility. This has enabled the creation of a homogeneous substratum, 40 cm thick, rich in organic matter and well aerated, dependent on continuous human action for its maintenance.

The village in the traditional Oasis, cornerstone of a landscape unchanged over thousands of years, is an artfully constructed architectural complex following the criteria of maximum functionality, to enable family and community life.