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The Redemptive Potential of the Street. A Multi-angular Analysis of Dubai’s Pedestrian Infrastructure

Abstract

Much has been written on the fast-paced development of Dubai as a city and the favoring of car-oriented streets in the approach to road building. This paper offers a reading of the city using the most forward-driven technological approaches in urban and transport planning to derive patterns and insights into areas of critical concern for intervention. The approach stems from the idea of incremental retrofitting as opposed to toppling over the current infrastructure, as a way to significantly enhance the walkability and viability of Dubai’s streets for its residents using minimal resources, while drastically enhancing their ability to utilize public space.
The focal element of this collection of studies is the street. In full, the extensive research traces the functional structure of 36 streets within the city, offering various insights into their potential to deliver better walkable environments. From observations of field surveys to progressive applied methods, this collection of studies offers taxonomic categorizations of Dubai’s streets as well as possible concerted and planned retrofitting strategies designed to encourage safe and comfortable walking experiences in a timely manner, and reduce possibilities for contracting airborne diseases, such as the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
This paper focuses on how the interplay of various interdependent components of urban infrastructure creates the conditions for Dubai’s street space to respond to walkability needs. Building on international practice and the latest disciplinary tools, this paper delves into the physical characteristics of Dubai’s streets and interrogates some of the critical areas whereby minimal intervention is perceived to have a huge impact on spatiotemporal urban quality. In effect, the study highlights avenues for activating Dubai’s most overlooked latent public spaces: its streets. 

Published:
Pages:67 to 94
Section: Space
How to Cite
Abdelfattah, L., Bazzoni, F. and Choubassi, R. (2021) “The Redemptive Potential of the Street. A Multi-angular Analysis of Dubai’s Pedestrian Infrastructure”, The Journal of Public Space, 6(1), pp. 67-94. doi: https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v6i1.1326.

Author Biographies

Systematica srl
Italy Italy

Lamia Abdelfattah is an urban planner and researcher working with Systematica in the areas of mobility research and communication. She has a background in collaborative urban development and expertise in issues of spatial equity in cities with a particular focus on gender equality. Since joining the team in 2019, she has been involved in diverse projects and publications aimed at delivering sustainable, innovative and equitable tools in the field of urban mobility.

Filippo Bazzoni is an architect with an extensive experience in urban design and transport planning. He is Senior Consultant and Project Manager at Systematica, where he collaborates since 2008. He works at large-scale developments and projects of complex buildings designed by MVRDV, BIG, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Renzo Piano Building Workshop and other worldwide renewed architecture offices. Filippo is mainly involved in international projects in India, Malaysia, Russia and many countries in Western Europe, North Africa and Middle East, dealing with aspects related to urban-regeneration plans, pedestrian flows and soft mobility strategies, traffic impact studies, parking assessment and design. He graduated in Architecture from the Politecnico di Milano in 2009, after studying at the Faculty of Architecture in Cologne (Germany) and in Perth (Australia). In 2011-2012 he moved to Moscow as post-graduate researcher for the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, where he has investigated the state of the Russian suburbs and the growth of alternative development practices.

Systematica srl
Italy Italy

Rawad Choubassi is currently a Partner and Board member of Systematica, operating mainly from Systematica’s head office in Milan and acting as a Technical Director. He earned his Master degree in Urban Planning and Public Policy Design at the Politecnico di Milano and previously graduated in Architecture at the American University of Beirut in 2002. He gained his experience through intensive work on master planning and large-scale projects since the early days of his career with several offices among which are Kliment-Halsband Architects (New York, 2002), AUB Facilities Planning and Design unit (Beirut, 2003-2005), and Arata Isozaki (Tokyo/Milano. 2005-2007) before joining Systematica in 2008. 18-year experienced Rawad Choubassi currently leads planning and research projects on mobility in urban environments and complex buildings, with a focus on urban regeneration and new development transport planning, feasibility studies and due diligence reporting, parking engineering and pedestrian flow analysis. His experience worldwide facilitates understanding the different norms and regulations, and assisted him in interpreting the specific characteristics and needs of different projects in different contexts. Rawad Choubassi currently steers a team of multi-disciplinary research group for expanding the limits of the science behind mobility engineering on city and building scale.

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