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Motivation and Attachment in the Use of Public Open Spaces in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Addas, Abdullah (2015) Motivation and Attachment in the Use of Public Open Spaces in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This research investigates how the residents of the city of Jeddah perceive, use and experience open spaces within an urban context, including unplanned and peri-urban natural areas. It highlights the patterns of use of open spaces and compares these with research findings from North America and European countries. The specific cultural and historical context of Arabic countries means that key factors in use of public space are the segregation of gender and importance of religious practice. However, Jeddah is also a multicultural city, with a high proportion of migrant residents, so also provides a research context for critiquing transnational practices and attachments. The research strategy was developed from two key methodological principles. The first develops investigation of place as an integration of form, fabric and cultural practice, allowing the research to link social patterns with the physical design of the public realm. The second foregrounds storytelling methods to elicit complexity of place attachment, enabling investigation of intangible influences, such as social norms, gender norms, religion and ethnicity. A qualitative case study approach was used to investigate users’ cultural practices and experiences of public spaces. The methods used in this research were a review of maps and documents, car surveys, observations and on-site interviews. It was important to develop an open space typology to meet the diversity of use in a case study selection specific to a Gulf region context. One key finding of this research indicates that Saudi and non-Saudi users visit designed open spaces and incidental spaces that meet their perceived needs, and positive experiences by women using public open spaces implies a broad desire to undertake more outdoor physical activity. The factor of gender is also shown to significantly influence how places are used in terms of temporal and spatial dimensions, as women and men made adaptions to their use of public open spaces to conform to cultural norms. Another key finding of this research suggests people seek out meaningful places that are primarily defined by social connections or by restorative experience. The final key finding of this research shows that public open spaces often fail to meet the identified needs of a diverse range of users, the findings indicate concerns about poor maintenance of public open spaces, and there are insufficient opportunities for users to share their needs with decision makers. Therefore, this research enhances knowledge of patterns of usage and place attachment for public open spaces in an Arab country that follows Islamic law, but also found similarities of patterns of place attachment when comparing Western studies, which suggests that this theory has cross-cultural relevance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: The PhD viva was in 12 November 2014
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Landscape (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.641036
Depositing User: Mr Abdullah Addas
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2015 08:34
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 12:10
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8565

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