Public Space in Kuwait

From User Behaviour to Policy-making

This project develops a method to explore the relationship between the built environment and the use of public space in Kuwait’s residential neighbourhoods.

Kuwait’s urbanisation patterns are leading to higher levels of motorisation with negative impacts on individual health and the environment. As a consequence, re-evaluating urban development mechanisms becomes extremely vital. This project addresses the need for significant change in planning urban public space that would influence healthier individual behaviour and environmentally-friendly mobility patterns.

Building upon the Resource Urbanisms project, this exploration is the result of early investigations on the relationship between the built environment and the use of public space. With the World Health Organization appealing for an increase in physical activity of individuals, this project will explore the impact neighbourhood layout and urban design elements have on outdoor activities and individual behaviour. It aims to examine the variables that generate liveable and successful public space and propose methods to integrate these results into evidence-based policymaking, for more sustainable urban development in Kuwait. Two neighbourhoods in Kuwait will be explored to define the tools that would promote the necessary change.

The end goal is to encourage sociability and walkability that would improve the experiential quality of public space in existing neighbourhoods, and to recommend evidence-based policies for new neighbourhoods being designed and developed for the future. A new approach to urban design policies will help diversify a post–oil economy, create healthier opportunities for urban living and encourage environmentally sustainable public space.

Project Team

Principle Investigator
Alexandra Gomes, LSE Cities
Dr Asseel Al-Ragam, Kuwait University

Project consultant
Sharifa Alshalfa

Alaa Fouda
Nouralhuda Sheref 
Mia Roach Penn, LSE Cities
Tanushree Agarwal



Peca Amaral Gomes, A., Al-Ragam, A., and Al-Shalfan, S. (2021) Reclaiming public space in Kuwait’s residential neighbourhoods: an applied policy-oriented approach. Kuwait Programme paper series (8). LSE Middle East Centre.


Alexandra Gomes, Asseel Al-Ragam and Sharifa Alshalfan, 'Public Space Use in Kuwait: From User Behaviour to Policy-Making', LSE Middle East Centre blog, 16 March 2021

Gomes, A., Al-Ragam, A., and Alshalfa, S. (2020). Reflections on COVID-19 and Public Space Use in Kuwait: The Potential of a New 'Normal', LSE Middle East Centre Blog, 6 May 2020


Alexandra Gomes, Asseel Al-Ragam, Sharifa Alshalfan, Tanushree Agarwal and Adriana Valdez Young, 'Games and participatory tools in urban research and design’, LSE Cities Research Seminar, 7 June 2021 

Alexandra Gomes, Asseel Al-Ragam, Sharifa Alshalfan, Adeel Muhammad, Reem Alfahad, 'Stuck in the 20th Century? Kuwait's Urbanisation, Transport, and Use of Public Space', LSE Middle East Centre webinar, 25 May 2021

Alexandra Gomes, Asseel Al-Ragam and Sharifa Alshalfan, 'Reflecting on Public Space use in Kuwait pre and post Covid-19', The Architect’s Hub Qatar online research seminar, 17 June 2020. 

Alexandra Gomes, Asseel Al-Ragam and Sharifa Alshalfan, 'Public space in Kuwait: Challenges and opportunities for research and practice'. LSE Cities online research seminar, 11 June 2020



The following eight videos are part of the outputs of the Public Space in Kuwait project. Each recording represents a time-lapse of 5 minutes compressed into 30 second videos. Filmed in the case study area locations in Kuwait: 4th Street, Qortuba and AlDimna Street, Salmiya. All recorded during the afternoon of the 16th of April 2019 (with temperatures of around 28C).

Qortuba A
Qortuba B
Qortuba C
Qortuba vacant plot

Salmiya A
Salmiya B
Salmiya C
Salmiya Park



Principle Investigator
Alexandra Gomes, Dr Asseel Al-Ragam
Project consultant
Sharifa Alshalfan
Alaa Fouda, Nouralhuda Sheref, Mia Roach Penn, Tanushree Agarwal
Project partner
Kuwait University
Project funder
Kuwait Programme at the LSE Middle East Centre
Research strand
Cities, environment and climate change
2018 - 2019