Understanding people’s needs for a vivid public realm as a key towards enhancing modern neighbourhoods’ liveability Nasr City in Cairo as a case study
Traditional cities emerged and grew according to the residents’ needs; thus they were a reflection of the community’s culture and traditions. But lately cities have witnessed numerous changes and challenges. Nasr City in Cairo was planned as a suburb in the late sixties to tackle the housing shortage in Cairo. Nasr city’s master plan aimed at accommodating modern planning concepts where it featured an abundance of open public spaces when compared to other districts of Cairo. However, these spaces are empty of people most of the time, which detracts from the character and the experiential qualities of the area. This paper aims to explore the way in which the residents of Nasr city envision ‘their’ public spaces, comprehending the reasons why their usage of such spaces is currently hindered and discovering their recommendations for enhancing public spaces in their neighbourhoods in a way that would encourage them to visit them regularly. In addition, this paper assesses Nasr city’s public spaces, in an attempt to bridge the gap between the offered built environment and people’s needs. This assessment shall be achieved through the use of questionnaires, observations of people’s reactions towards offered public spaces, urban surveys of the provided public spaces and interviews with officials. Based on these studies the paper proposes recommendations incorporating people’s needs for a vivid public realm, in order to help planners and officials to understand the malfunctions inherent in modern city planning and management models that have hindered planned public spaces from conveying and fulfilling their role as centres of social interaction.
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