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.
- Alexandra Gomes, Asseel Al-Ragam and Sharifa Alshalfan, '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 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.
Alexandra is a Research Officer in LSE Cities.
Asseel is Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, Research and Graduate Studies, at the College of Architecture, Kuwait University.
Consultants and researchers
Mia Roach Penn