TOWARDS AN UNDERSTANDING OF SPATIALITY OF INDETERMINATE SPACES: DOHA MIGRANT LABOURERS AS SPATIAL ACTOR
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This study investigated publicly accessible spaces where the city’s normal forces of control have not shaped their perception, usage and occupancy. The so-called indeterminate spaces were examined in traditional Doha neighbourhoods, with Al Asmakh, Al Najada and Barahat Al Jufairi as case studies. The objectives of the research are to find out how, where and why space becomes indeterminate, and to understand the dynamic intervening relationship between spatial pattern of the space and migrant labourers’ experiences in everyday indeterminate spaces. In addition to exploring the users’ perception, the performance of the activities and the intensity of use were also examined. The focus on publicly accessible indeterminate spaces arises from the perception of their importance for the urban poor, and of a gap in research on the subject in the old neighbourhoods of the city of Doha. The research adopted a cross-disciplinary approach through holistic understanding of everyday space, place-making concepts and urban form performance criteria, with public indeterminate space viewed as material space with a spatial and social dimension, situated within a cultural setting. A model was developed linking all the factors, based on which a framework of issues and questions was developed for use in examining the case studies. The research employed both documentary research and fieldwork in data sourcing. Activity and behavioural mapping, as well as interviews, have been utilised to investigate the values and meaning that users impose on these spaces. Additionally, an urban situation analysis focusing on the urban growth and urban demography of the selected neighbourhoods, has contributed to an understanding of the factors resulting in the temporary use of the space and its informality. Analysis of the selected indeterminate spaces within the designated neighbourhoods demonstrated that the temporality and indeterminacy of the spaces occurred due to the alteration of spatial structure resulting from the economic, social, cultural, spatial and environmental challenges that negatively affected the quality of urban life. This resulted in the emergence of the indeterminacy process and informal practices by the inhabitants, in our case, migrant workers. They began to create spaces by taking advantage of the physical and social possibilities that indeterminate spaces possess, to fulfill their socio-cultural and economic needs by performing activities that strongly contribute to the meaning of the space, promote their ability to participate in the activities, and employ some level of control and empowerment involving their right to the city. Understanding the spatiality of these spaces revealed the relevance of temporary uses and informal local practices as a resource for rethinking a city’s inflexible planning, and developing the city so that spaces once more become productive and livable.
- Urban Planning & Design [13 items ]