Different parts of the world have vastly varying climates, broadly defined by their latitudes. It is important to remember that within the same climatic region there can be significant climatic variations caused by local conditions. A survey of early civilizations indicates a strong relationship between hospitable climates and centres of settled population. At the same time people also settled in extremely adverse or extreme climatic conditions, and they could adapt to the conditions with reasonable comfort. The idealized notion of "comfort" was non existent at that time and it was evident that "adaptability" was possible by mechanism of the human body.
After the advent of the industrial age major growth of cities occurred in what we now call the industrialized or developed countries. Most of these happened to be in the temperate or cold regions of the globe. The modern technologies of these societies, dependent on fossil fuels and electricity, now defines the nature of building design. And this is now tending to be applied across the world as the bulk of the world’s population which still inhabits the warmer climates, progress and develop.
Ironically, this development process is leading to global climate change which could be disastrous. Scientists have focused attention on global warming, popularly called the "greenhouse effect." The scientific community generally accepts that heat-trapping gases mostly carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and methane has been building up in the lower atmosphere, trapping heat and causing temperatures on the earth's surface to rise. The accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere closely parallels the increased use of fossil fuels by a growing global population. This calls for serious questioning of modern building practices and for learning from traditional building practices where people obtained a fair degree of comfort from simple and conservative means.