This paper takes Algiers as a case study, highlighting the social use of urban spaces in El Houma, in the Algerian capital, as a form of placemaking, a people-centred approach aimed at improving urban spaces within a neighbourhood.
El Houma is a word for neighbourhood in North Africa synonymous with Hara and Mahalla in the Middle East. El Houma is not a typical neighbourhood that only houses people, it is a socio-spatial product formed by social relations between residents of the same neighbourhood. It is, therefore, a way of representing urban space though social practices, creating a strong sense of community, a sense of place and social interaction.
Based on theories and mapping techniques from urban sociology and urban design, the research applies a methodology of activity mapping, in order to investigate patterns of outdoor social activities in public spaces and their correlation with the physical design of the neighbourhood. The research will measure the liveliness of public spaces exploring how people adapted their lifestyle to the built environment and vice versa. The findings demonstrate how the different social activities are spatially distributed, and their impact on the liveliness of el Houma.
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