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.
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