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Public Spaces in the Arab Region


The Arab Region has been facing several challenges. While some countries are facing socio-economic issues, others have been civil strife and conflict. In both cases, public spaces play an important role in tackling these issues, and in cities’ social, economic, health and environmental life, since they contribute to build social cohesion, improve the quality of human interactions and the physical and mental health of inhabitants. Based on this, UN-Habitat has been supporting the development of ‘Public Spaces in the Arab Region’ programme since 2016. The programme has been rehabilitating public spaces using participatory tools to foster sustainable development and ultimately achieve SDG 11, target 11.7.
However, the implementation of these siloed projects, coupled with lack of data, inadequate design and improper management didn’t allow for the development of a strategic plan for public spaces in the cities of the Arab Region. Acknowledging such issues and challenges, the programme in cooperation with the UN-Habitat's Global Public Space programme is further developing the regional approach to focus on rehabilitating public spaces that are safe for the most vulnerable groups, in particular women and girls, given the violence they face in the public domain. The programme is also working with relevant stakeholders and authorities to upscale such projects and to develop a city-wide public space network that is aligned with a strategic action plan.

Pages:235 to 240
Section: Viewpoint
How to Cite
Raslan, E. and Shaheen, L. (2021) “Public Spaces in the Arab Region”, The Journal of Public Space, 6(1), pp. 235-240. doi:

Author Biographies

UN-Habitat, Regional Office for Arab States
Egypt Egypt

Ms. Elaf Raslan is currently a programme associate with UN-Habitat Regional office for the Arab States. During her assignment with UN-Habitat, Ms. Raslan worked for the Regional Public Space programme supported by the Global Public Space programme. Furthermore, to her work with the unit, she worked on a regional urban profiling projects for cities in crisis and following that she worked partially on Land in the Arab Region supported by GLTN. Prior to her work with UN-Habitat, Ms. Raslan worked as junior planner for research labs and as landscape architect and project coordinator. On another hand, Ms. Raslan has a BSc and MSc in Urban planning from Ain Shams University.

UN-Habitat, Regional Office for Arab States
Egypt Egypt

Experienced Senior Project Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the international affairs industry. Skilled in Sustainable Development, Urban Planning, Urban, Spatial Analysis, and Planning. Strong community and social services professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) focused in Spatial Planning from TU Dortmund University.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2206-9658