A policy framework for developing urban public squares to enhance sustainable development of UAE
Ezzeddine, Issam E.
MetadataShow full item record
For more than 2000 years, the urban public square has been a distinguishing characteristic of Western cities. For the last 200 years, European and North American cities have been deliberately planned to include public squares with an intention to bring people closer. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the urban public square was a prominent feature in most traditional communities, but, since the late 1960s, this feature has gradually disappeared from urban planning. A consequence of this is that the social fabric of community life has been eroded. Despite support from the UAE leadership and regulatory authorities for developing sustainable communities in line with global compacts, the gap between social life and community urban planning is yet to be filled. This research examines the effectiveness of developing urban public squares in the UAE cities and formulates policies for including such spaces in cities and communities. The research used quantitative and qualitative methods to collect data. The research evaluated the liveability of different communities in the UAE through detailed case studies of four squares and plazas. Perceptions of different community representative groups were gathered through semi-structured interviews, focus groups, a survey and a Charrette technique. Findings indicate that all participants would like to see public urban squares being included in urban planning in order to enhance liveability. Results show that public squares are an essential urban element in creating a place for people to interact with their environment. It is concluded that providing more liveable urban squares in the UAE cities requires improvement in the master planning and urban design regulations and a consideration of traditional practice in the creation and management of modern urban squares and plazas in the Middle East.