Maryam Marzbani
Jihad Awad
Mahmud Rezaei


This research attempts to address the question “which of the “physical”, “social” or “perceptual” aspects of a place has had a more significant impact on walkability?” The main goals were to identify, quantify, and compare the tangible (physical) and less tangible (perceptual, social) aspects of urban walkability as well as how they impact urban walkability in the new versus traditional developments in Dubai. The significance of this research lies in higher weight it places on the quantitative rather than merely the qualitative features of walkability, in order to provide more practical guidelines and measurements. This emphasis reflects a gap in the literature on walkability which is focused more on the latter than the former. Planners, public and city officials can use these findings in their decisions. The findings indicate that the sense of place in the historical fabric of Bastakiyah (old part of Dubai) is totally higher than the new development of Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR). But it has more been the physical aspect, rather than less-tangible factors of the place, in both cases, that normally has improved the whole sense of the place felt by visitors, inhabitants and users. Yet, the behavioural and perceptual criteria need to be improved, in comparison with the mere physical attractions, in order to create a more balanced place for walkability in Dubai. In this study, the combinations of qualitative and quantitative methods have been used. Urban dimensions and their effects on walkability have been qualitatively identified and categorized through administering a survey questionnaire. These dimensions were then measured in Dubai. Lastly, the collected data have been statistically analyzed and described with the SPSS program.


How to Cite
Marzbani, M., Awad, J. and Rezaei, M. (2020) “The Sense of Place: Components and Walkability: Old and New Developments in Dubai, UAE”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(1), pp. 21–36. doi: 10.32891/jps.v5i1.1249.
Author Biographies

Maryam Marzbani, Islamic Azad University

Maryam Marzbani holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning  (2010- 2012) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Engineering (2006 – 2010), both from Islamic Azad University, Iran.

Jihad Awad, Ajman University

Dr. Jihad Awad is associate professor of architecture, currently head of architecture department at Ajman University (AU), UAE. Before joining AU in 2004, he has taught at different Palestinian universities, and was head of architecture department at An-Najah University in Nablus, Palestine.
He holds Dr. Ing. from University of Stuttgart, Germany (1996), M. Arch. from Kansas State University, USA (1989), and B.Sc. in Architectural Engineering from Yarmouk University, Jordan (1984). His areas of interest are: Urban Design and Conservation; Traditional Arab-Islamic Architecture; Modern and Contemporary Architecture; and Architecture in the GCC.
In addition to many research papers and articles, he published two books: “Rural Houses of Palestine” (in Arabic), and “Top International Architects – Design Concepts in Architecture” (in English), four volumes.
During the last few years he was involved in organizing several workshops, and responsible for inviting many internationally renowned architects to AU, including: C. Jencks, H. Hollein, R. Koolhaas, M. Nicoletti, B. van Berkel, R. Badran, W. Alsop, E. O. Moss, M. Yansong, E. Ambasz, T. Wiscombe, F. Houben, and K. Yeang.

Mahmud Rezaei, Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch

Since 1999 Mahmud Rezaei has been a researcher, architect, urban designer and IAU faculty member in both architecture and urban planning/design departments and has taught at various universities. Dr. Rezaei had been the head of the Urban Design/Planning Departments (MA/Ph.D.) at IAU Colleges of Architecture and Urban Studies in Iran and UAE Branches (Dubai IAU in Knowledge Village and Dubai Academic City). He has also held several visiting professorship appointments at international universities in architecture, landscape design, urban design, and planning fields including the University of Sharjah and the City Institute at York University in Toronto, Canada. Apart from participating in international Architecture and Urban Design Practices since 2004, Dr. Rezaei has also conducted research in the Middle Eastern Cities and published several articles in scholarly journals. He has received research/book awards on topics such as design processes, theories and methods of (architectural) design and (city) planning, walkability, urban morphology, and public urban spaces.


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