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Public Open Spaces in Bahrain: The Potential for Transcultural Conviviality

Al-Madani, Wafa (2018) Public Open Spaces in Bahrain: The Potential for Transcultural Conviviality. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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This research investigated how theories of conviviality, transcultural cities and everyday encounters in public open spaces (POS) are interrelated, and explored these dynamics through fieldwork in Bahrain. Throughout its history, Bahrain developed a fluid population of multi-ethnic origin, and the later oil boom has led to a population increase mostly among non-Bahraini migrant residents, who now account for more than 50% of the population. This research used a qualitative methodology, integrating observation, on-site short interviews, in-depth go-along interviews and expert interviews. The participants included both Bahraini and migrant groups from different origins and generations. The intention was to understand diverse personal interpretations and socio-spatial associations and analyse these alongside different patterns of use in POS. This research focused on eight case study areas including both formal and informal POS in different cities. The findings explored the importance of POS in Bahrain for transcultural practices and developing a sense of belonging across differences. It highlighted how these places support positive migrants experiences in Bahrain. The variation of case studies addressed spatial and temporal affordances for different leisure activities and patterns of outdoor sociability and demonstrated how these reflect different cultural values. The research also found that different transcultural practices in POS support conviviality and meaningful encounters. However, the findings also explored that conflicts arise from the complexity of cultural differences in transcultural cities. Parenting and littering appeared as cultural differences regarding social responsibility in public spaces. Although these are mundane conflicts, ignoring them may have widespread implications both for the value of POS and intercultural exchanges within the city. The research engaged theory with practice, utilising the social justice agenda proposed by Low and Iveson (2016) to shape the responsibility of professional practice in maintaining the responsiveness of public spaces in urban contexts of cultural complexity. This research suggests that to support conviviality and to respond positively to cultural differences in POS, embedding an understanding of transcultural urbanism in landscape architecture planning, design and management can be an effective and ethical approach in both Bahrain and the wider Gulf region.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Landscape (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.755279
Depositing User: Wafa Al-Madani
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2018 13:37
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 20:05
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21651

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