Livability and Social Capital in West Bay, The New Business Precinct of Doha
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Scholars argue that there is a mutual relationship between built environment, social interactions (and/or social capital) and livability: the form of the built environment contributes to the construction of social capital and/or enhancement of livability. Therefore in order to enhance livability, the built environment should provide the arena encouraging social activities. The study of the relationship between built environment, social capital and livability has focused on existing spatial environments at macro level or urban scale. Namely, regardless of the interest to this relationship, direct assessment of the extent to which the built environment of West Bay, the new business precinct of Doha, contributes to the formation and enhancement of social capital, has not been investigated yet. Therefore, this research project aims at filling this gap in the literature. The paper argues that the current spatial form of the built environment of West Bay does not facilitate the development of social activities, which in turn contribute the formation of social capital and enhancement of livability. The aim of the paper is to explore and explain the extent to which the spatial form of the built environment of West Bay can be implemented in order to enhance social interactions and/or social capital and, therefore, to contribute to create a more livable environment. Data is obtained from a household survey and focus group interviews that measured the social capital of tenants living in eight high-rise buildings in West Bay, through their involvement in social activities within the built environment. This allowed understanding how the built environment of West Bay should be modified in order to enhance social capital and consequently implement livability in the neighborhood. The analysis indicates that (1) tenant living in West Bay have low level of social capital and that (2) in order to enhance livability, the spatial form of the neighborhood’s built environment needs to be implemented with public spaces, mixed-use neighborhood design, efficient public transport systems, pedestrian and bicycle networks. This would contribute to create a sense of community and expand opportunity for social interactions, which in the end would contribute to enhance livability.
- Architecture & Urban Planning [77 items ]