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Title: Public spaces in a contemporary urban environment : multi-dimensional urban design approach for Saudi cities
Authors: Mandeli, Khalid
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Contemporary spatial planning policy and practice for regulating urban growth and urban space have led to fragmentation in the layout of modern residential areas in many countries. This fragmentation, together with the structural change that societies around the world have experienced in the last three to four decades, has created transitory and impersonal public spaces that not only deprive inhabitants of the socialisation associated with traditional communities but which also contribute to the breakdown of one of the mechanisms of behaviour control and crime prevention (i.e. natural surveillance combined with self-policing). As these spaces become less identified, residents’ perceptions of vulnerability to criminal and sub-criminal activities, as well as the actual level of antisocial behaviour, have increased. In addition, residents are exposed to higher levels of risk from traffic, noise, air pollution, and other urban hazards. Therefore, awareness of risk and fear of the outdoor environment are heightened and become common in the rhythms of the everyday lives of residential environments. Consequently, individuals (or at least those within certain sectors of society) have withdrawn from public life, and life in general has become more insular, inward-looking and home based. Our problem is that public spaces within modern residential areas in Jeddah have changed from being embedded in the social fabric of the city to being part of fragmented urban settings. These spaces have not only reduced socialisation for inhabitants, but have also become a public burden and a continuous drain on urban life. This research draws on an exploratory and explanatory investigation to understand how the current state of these spaces came about. For this purpose, we have dissected the different actions undertaken by the stakeholders involved in public space provision. This has the further aim of developing multi-dimensional intellectual approaches to inform urban design principles for the future provision of this amenity. Broadly speaking, the investigation –– which was carried out using a mixed method as its research strategy –– allows us to argue that the contemporary practice of public space provision does not create places that might foster community interaction and enrich socio-cultural life in this context. Moreover, the key argument of this research is that the quality of public spaces within modern residential areas can be effectively enhanced by public participation in the maintenance and management of these spaces. Some recommendations for the future provision of this amenity are offered
Description: PhD thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

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