The main purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance and the need of upgrading the existing planning courses and establishing new planning courses related to the arid lands which, in turn, will lead to the formulation of a new curriculum based on the arid features. These arid lands have its unique urban system and different economic activities, which are completely different from Delta settlements.
As urban and regional planners, we should view the arid zones as potential locations for further urban expansion. The construction of settlements of different forms and functions which respond to the unique nature of desert climate will be needed. Thus, this unique urban system of arid zones should be highlighted in the planning curriculum of any planning institution.
To achieve this purpose, one hypothesis is set; the Egyptian arid lands represent the most available and feasible location for new settlements. This hypothesis is tested theoretically, by reviewing some related literature and the new governmental strategies.
The results of this paper should provide the base for introducing the new curriculum of urban and regional planning of arid lands. Regional and urban planning institutions should formulate a comprehensive and integrated curriculum for arid zones to address the future needs of the 21st. century.. This will lead to the amendment of the following:
1- Regional and Urban planning courses should consider the unique features of the arid lands regarding their activities, population size, and site selection criteria So, students should consider the harsh climate and limited resources of water in estimating the settlements' size, and activity.
2- Urban Design and Architecture courses should consider the nature of the arid lands in their curriculum. Thus, students should consider the relation among buildings with respect to the in-between spaces and wideness of passages and their orientation. Moreover, the urban form should be adapted to respond to the unique nature of the desert climate.
3- Landscape Design Courses should realize that the unique features of the arid lands should affect the choice of quality and quantity of both plants and paving materials.
As a matter of fact, as the world enters the 21st. century, it is confronted by a rapid economic, social and population growth and change which represents a challenge to the traditional curriculum of planning education that leads to the need of adopting innovative ways of education strategies to surmount these challenges. One of this new disciplines which should be developed is the planning of arid lands.