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Reclaiming public space in Kuwait’s residential neighbourhoods: an applied policy-oriented approach

Peca Amaral Gomes, Alexandra, Al-Ragam, Asseel and AlShalfan, Sharifa (2021) Reclaiming public space in Kuwait’s residential neighbourhoods: an applied policy-oriented approach. Kuwait Programme paper series (8). LSE Middle East Centre, London, UK.

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Kuwait’s population is expanding rapidly and accommodating this growth through sustainable urban development will be a challenge for the small emirate. This calls for a shift in current urbanisation patterns that are contributing to high levels of motorisation, public space neglect, physical inactivity and health and environmental problems.1 These negative externalities are coupled with unsustainable and profit-driven regeneration schemes that neglect the relationship between everyday behaviour and public space. Consequently, re-evaluating the relationship between urban growth and public space standards becomes vital. This applied policy-oriented research expands on the limited qualitative studies on public space in Kuwait and challenges state top-down design standards used in planning its residential neighbourhoods. It explores the impact that planning, design, and behavioural factors have on public space use. Building on the existing literature, it also adds a socio-spatial dimension to public space studies and contributes a qualitative policy-oriented approach that is environmentally sustainable and one that leads to healthier social and individual behaviour. A comparative case study method guided the investigation on two local streets in residential neighbourhoods in Kuwait with divergent urban characteristics: 4th Street, Qortuba and AlDimna Street, Salmiya. A qualitative user-centred analysis based on Gehl’s public survey tools2 was then used ‘to measure public space and public life’.3 The findings highlight that an overlap in responsibilities at state planning authorities and limited user-centred policies have hindered the successful use of public space in Kuwait. However, and as this investigation illustrates, public space improvement cannot be achieved with isolated measures. Design improvements to public space must also take into account the cultural and climatic impact of users’ social negotiations that take place in the public space of residential neighbourhoods in Kuwait. This investigation uses the selected case studies to address these different factors. The aim is to explore the impact of qualitative methods of analysis in understanding public space and to use the collected data to generate evidence-based policies that could then be applied on a much larger scale to the sustainable urban development of Kuwait. Effective urban policies and management will promote the necessary change that will help create more vibrant communities.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Middle East Centre
LSE Cities
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2021 10:12
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:21

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