Spaces of Living

Urban Reflections of Kuwaiti Society

Principal Investigator: Sharifa Alshalfan
Duration: March 2016–February 2018

Muhammad Abdullah / (CC BY-NC 2.0).

This research project addressed the process of urbanisation in Kuwait post-oil discovery through exploring changes in ways of life in Kuwaiti society and relating them to the physical spaces in which these behaviours are practiced, especially from the perspective of housing – the principal urban expansion mechanism that has prevailed since the development of the first master plan in 1952. 

As Kuwait faces an unmanageable housing backlog of over 100,000 applications at the Public Authority for Housing Welfare, a private housing market that is unattainable to most, and rising dissatisfaction amongst society. This study helped to demonstrate alternative building typologies fit for Kuwaiti society that are sustainable and localised.

To do so, the project analysed current housing typologies that exist in the Kuwaiti urban landscape and their evolution since the onset of the modern Kuwaiti City. It also analysed the various social behaviour patterns that emerge at different types of abode, and finally proposed new typologies for housing and ways to approach urban development that are data-supported and context-driven.

Research Team


Sharifa Alshalfan | Principal Investigator

Sharifa is an architect and a researcher who is currently a Visiting Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre.


Joaquin Perez-Goicoechea | Co-Principal Investigator

Joaquin is an architect and urban designer. He is Principal/Partner at AGi Architects in Madrid.