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Fostering Interactions at Public Open Spaces

The Role of Physical Interface in Facilitating User Interactions in the UAE


Over the past few decades, the importance of public open spaces has been substantially increased due to rapid urbanization and developments. Likewise, cities and communities in the Arab world are also going through urban transformation; driven by the global context in which cities are being reshaped along with the modernization of urban planning themes. Over the last 15 years, Dubai has emerged as one of the world’s fastest growing cities. It has been associated with the desire to build tall buildings as a statement of modernity, globalization, and economic prosperity, which lead to a rapid growth in population. This expansion has caused many environmental and urban planning challenges. Hasty urbanization, demographic, and economic growth alongside land privatization process has progressively changed the nature and theme of public open spaces within the UAE which in turn creates a gap between social life and community urban planning. The regeneration of public open spaces in cities of the UAE is a major issue as multiple factors must be taken into consideration during the design stages. This paper aims at understanding the role of physical interface of the public open spaces in context of UAE and its transformation over the years. These spaces act as a catalyst which accelerate this transformation of urban scenario and there by citizens life. Open places play an important role for bringing people closer and act as a socio-cultural entity for the sake of improving social life and interactivity. Social well-being arises from a sense of security, belonging, familiarity, support, cohesion, and integration of social groups, based on respect for different cultures, traditions, and backgrounds. Hence this research analyzes the influence of such tangible and intangible elements in the public open spaces, through which the social interaction happens and offers unprecedented experience to the users, visitors and urban community alike.

Pages:167 to 184
Section: Society
How to Cite
Malhotra, A. and Dobriyal, R. (2021) “Fostering Interactions at Public Open Spaces”, The Journal of Public Space, 6(1), pp. 167-184. doi:

Author Biographies

Manipal Academy of Higher Education
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates

An Architect, Urban planner, Corporate trainer and Academician- Arushi is a strong design professional with Post-Graduation in Urban and Regional Planning, M.URP (specialization in Land use) from CEPT University, India and Bachelors in Architecture (B. ARCH) from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India. She is currently working in Manipal Academy of higher education, Dubai as an Assistant Professor and Program coordinator for design programs in School of Design and Architecture (SoDA). With a significant work experience in both teaching and professional work, she has worked on numerous Government/ private institutional projects (Government College of Engineering & Technology at Kathua; National Institute of Animal Bio Technology (NIAB),Hyderabad; National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Srinagar; NCR Bio Science Cluster for Department of Biotechnology, Faridabad), residential, commercial, high rise (mixed-use), and interior projects covering offices, retail, leisure spaces & villas in India and UAE. She is also a Home Décor and Interior Enthusiast and runs her own website called 'La Casa En El Cielo'. Her research interests include Urbanization & development; Semiology and Urbanism; Psychological and emotional perception of space.

Manipal Academy of Higher Education
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates

Ranjana Dobriyal is graduated in Architecture and did post-graduation in Architecture Pedagogy from Indian university, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Subsequent to this she has an experience of more than 10 year in Designing of various commercial and residential projects including 3 years in academics, even currently working as an assistant professor in Manipal Academy of higher education, Dubai. A decade-old experience includes not only designing right from the conceptualization and working drawings to project management and completion drawings required in a project, but also a decent participation in training and educating future Architects of society, and a passion for academics actually encouraged her to do Masters in Architecture Pedagogy. Interest in Research were developed with time are Public open spaces, Critical Design thinking approach in Architecture education and latest and innovative techniques in Architecture education


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