Public Space in Kuwait: From User Behaviour to Policy-making

Developing a Method for the Analysis of Public Space in Kuwait’s Residential Neighbourhoods

Principal Investigators: Alexandra Gomes and Dr Asseel Al-Ragam
Duration: January 2019–February 2022

Public space in Kuwait
@ Alexandra Gomes

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.


Reclaiming Public Space 500x733 png

Reclaiming Public Space in Kuwait's Residential Neighbourhoods: An Applied Policy-Oriented Approach

Alexandra Gomes, Asseel Al-Ragam and Sharifa Alshalfan, March 2021

Download the paper



Alexandra Gomes, Tanushree Agarwal, Asseel Al-Ragam and Sharifa Alshalfan, February 2021

Read about and download the card game



Other Outputs

  • Alexandra Gomes and Peter Schwinger interviewed for The National on Metro and the Gulf by David Barsley, "Why Dubai Metro may signal way forward for gulf urban rail growth", The National News UAE, 20 March 2023.  
  • Asseel Al-Ragam, Invited Speaker, “Kuwaitscapes” and Public Space Challenges in Kuwait, College of Architecture, Kuwait University, Kuwait, 22 November 2022.
  • Ana da Cunha, ‘Four women created a card game about public space in Kuwait’, A mensagem de Lisboa, 10 November 2022 (article in Portuguese)  
  • Asseel Al-Ragam, Invited Guest Speaker, “Revisiting Twentieth Century Urban Processes and Design Practices in Kuwait” the Urban School, Sciences Po, Paris, France, 19 October 2022.
  • Asseel Al-Ragam, “Kuwaitscapes” as a public participation tool for community engagement and equitable public space planning in Kuwait, Insaniyyat Congress, 20 September 2022.
  • Sharifa Alshalfan, Alexandra Gomes, Asseel Al-Ragam and Tanushree Agarwal, 'Reimagining public spaces through cards', at Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Centre (ASCC), Kuwait, 16 May 2022. 
  • Sharifa Alshalfan, Alexandra Gomes, Asseel Al-Ragam and Tanushree Agarwal, 'Let's hack Kuwaitscapes', at Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS), Kuwait, 11 May 2022.
  • Alexandra Gomes, Do we need the arts to change the world?, LSE iQ podcast, April 2022. 
  • Alexandra Gomes and Tanushree Agarwal, Kuwaitscapes: can card games help urban planning', LSE Research Showcase, 5 October 2021. 
  • Asseel Al-Ragam lecture and game testing at Kuwait University College of Architecture, Kuwait, 2021. 
  • Alexandra Gomes, 'Public Space in Kuwait: A realm of physical and social negotiations' presentation, RC21 Conference, 15 July 2021. 
  • '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. 
  • Asseel Al-Ragam, 'Public Spaces in Kuwait and Beyond, Forms, Functions & Representations' presentation, French Centre for Archaeology and Social Sciences, 15 September 2019, Kuwait. 
  • Asseel Al-Ragam presentation, KFAS Gulf Conference on Sustainable Built Environment, 10-13 March 2019, Kuwait. 

Principal Investigators

Alexandra Gomes

Alexandra Gomes

Alexandra is a Research Fellow in LSE Cities.

Asseel Al-Ragam

Dr Asseel Al-Ragam

Asseel is Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, Research and Graduate Studies, at the College of Architecture, Kuwait University.

Consultants and researchers

Sharifa Al Shalfan

Sharifa Alshalfan


Fouda, Alaa

Alaa Fouda


Sheref, Nouralhuda

Nouralhuda Sheref


Roach Penn, Mia

Mia Roach Penn


Agarwal, Tanushree

Tanushree Agarwal