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Assessing the quality of neighborhood public spaces, a case study of Misurata city, Libya

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2017
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AESOP
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The public space of the city neighbourhoods is one of the major indicators of the urban quality and the residents´ satisfaction (Carmona, 2010, Carr, 1992, and Gehl, 2013). In Libya, the government has adopted a redevelopment scheme of providing new homes to the local residents, to build thousands of new housing units around the country since 2005. This plan was aiming to offset the shortage in housing numbers due to the high growth of population and rapid urbanization (Worldometers.info), 79% of the country population live in urban areas (Salhin, 2011). This high demand of providing houses to the citizens all over the country has made a significant change of the urban planning composition of the country, especially the residential areas. This paper focuses on two samples of a typical neighbourhoods in Misurata city as case studies. It investigates the role of public spaces of the traditional neighbourhoods (TN) and governmental neighbourhoods (GN). It compares the conditions of public spaces in both types of neighbourhoods in terms of physical and intangible qualities and examines the relationship between the residents in terms of social integration and community cohesion in both types of neighbourhoods. In addition, it attempts to find out whether this new strategy has affected the social relationship of the local community or not and finding out the extent of possible impact on the daily activities. Furthermore, the paper discusses the extent of interaction among the residents regardless of their age, gender and cultural background. This research is based on mixed methods approach including qualitative and quantitative methods through case studies of two neighbourhoods in Misurata City, Libya. 158 Questionnaires were distributed to an adequate sample of the neighbourhoods´ population. The indepth interviews conducted that included three categories, a) residents b) decision makers c) professionals. Moreover, according to the possibility of limitations in the data collection stage, site observation was used to focus on the residents´ activities as a supporting tool. The results show that residents in TNs feel more attached to their community, socially satisfied and comfortable while this perception was lower in the GNs. Research also found out that the relationship between the residents of the neighbourhood plays an essential role to improve and promote the social satisfaction of the residents which therefore will contribute to high-quality communities. Hence, it assists the development of the urban quality in significant parts of the city.
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Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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