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Title: Public open space on the transforming urban waterfronts of Bahrain : the case of Manama City
Authors: Al Ansari, Fuad
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Public open space on the urban waterfront is a unique part of the urban setting of many waterside cities. Since the 1960s, more of these spaces are being provided in an attempt to bring more people to waterside areas. While some cities have been successful in striking a balance between their economic needs and the public‘s demand for access to the water, others have failed. During this process, the urban waterfront has become synonymous with the idea of public open space. In Bahrain, since the late 1920s, ‗decline‘ has become the predominant character of the relationship between urban centres and the water. Hasty urban, demographic and economic growth alongside extensive land reclamation and privatization processes has progressively changed the nature of the waterfront. Until the mid 1990s this process took place without sufficient consideration for the cultural and social values of the waterfronts of the Islands. The new millennium saw an even faster depletion of those spaces, which triggered public outcry. Currently, open spaces providing formal or authorized access to the water represent 3 to 8% of the Islands‘ shoreline. In reflection of this situation, this research investigates the physical and social nature of the urban waterfront in Bahrain in the context of the current urban growth and land reclamation processes. Theoretically, it uses a multilayered approach in exploring public open space on the urban waterfront. The empirical aspect is case specific, focusing on the Northern and Eastern waterfronts of Manama. This investigation, which is the first of its type in Bahrain, employs a case study method based on an overall qualitative approach. This enables the utilization of many tools, such as archival research, site survey, observation, and interviews, in investigating the physical and functional attributes of Manama‘s waterfront and the selected public open spaces. The study of this waterfront is able to answer questions related to its accessibility, ownership, water-dependent nature of its uses, and the availability of public open space on it. It also focuses on formal and informal types of waterfronts to answer questions related to how those spaces are publicly perceived and consumed and the processes that shape them.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

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