Toward Sustainability of Temporary Uses in Public Spaces: a Case Study Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

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Purpose With the recently increasing emphasis on sustainable planning and the connection between public values and environmental, social, and economic aspects, there is a need to study temporary uses in public spaces. They are significant ways for achieving sustainability in urban development, especially when users meet their needs by interacting with public spaces in ways that differ from their original uses under changeable circumstances. Cultural heritage and ecological diversity constitute the main catalysts of modern development in Oman. Local authorities of Muscat, Oman’s capital, examine the urban potential and future development through integrating temporary uses to promote public spaces during numerous festivals. This paper investigates how these temporary uses can achieve sustainability and help in urban development. Design/methodology/approach This paper analyzes the environmental, economic, social, legal, and sustainable aspects of temporary uses. Furthermore, two public festivals, held in Muscat, were analyzed as varieties of temporary uses were introduced within public spaces. The analysis of the two cases has been done based on the different aspects of temporary uses. In total, 83 semi-structured interviews were conducted with users and stakeholders such as architects, developers, and planners, during group workshops. A questionnaire was administered to the workshop participants to measure their opinions regarding the temporary uses in public spaces. Findings The study establishes the significance of following the different aspects of temporary uses that can lead to the success of these uses. As well, the subsequent data report that a high percentage of respondents strongly agreed to the positive impacts of temporary uses on urban development in a changeable world. Originality/value This paper’s originality pertains to the exploration of the major role for temporary uses in the urban development of cities as it works like living labs for experimenting before long-term investments to achieve social needs with saving the environment via appropriate investments under an adequate legal framework.
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5: Uniqueness and connectivity. Al-Baraha: unlocking urban futures
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Assistant Professor of Architecture
Mansoura University
Assistant Professor of Architecture
Scientific College of Design & Mansoura University

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