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Appropriate urban public open space

Wan Abdullah, Wan Mohd. Zakri (2008) Appropriate urban public open space. PhD thesis, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Faculty of Built Environment.



The aim of this research is to evaluate the quality of "appropriateness", as in the concept of "appropriate urban public open space", with a focus on the open spaces of Malaysian town centers. This study was triggered by the issues of urban placeless-ness, quality of urban public open spaces, and lack of town users' critical feedbacks in the public realm development of Malaysian towns. The concept was derived based on the literature review that evolved around the existing urban design and other related theories as an idea of "the urban public open space that has the qualities of physical viability and functional vitality" whereby 'urban public open space' implied 'square typologies within a town center that allow pedestrian activities to take place in them'. Physical viability and functional vitality were the basis to the two main objectives of this research. Whilst the importance of the built physical quality of the spatial place has been well-documented, such environment would render irrelevant to its intended existence without people and their activities. Thus, an assumption was made that 'appropriateness' of urban public open space depends on the simultaneous fulfillment of both the aforementioned aspects. A case study approach of Kota Bharu town center with its three selected public open spaces was adopted as it allowed for an in-depth inquiry into the subject matter. The investigation has led to the construction of the town's morphological development and recognition of the elements that contributed to the characteristics and qualities of its public open spaces. The main purpose was to better understand the evolution and inter-relationship between the concerned elements. A questionnaire survey was carried out to gauge the town users' satisfaction levels with the elements. Initially, the obtained data were analyzed quantitatively utilizing simple percentage and frequency and then triangulated with the qualitative data that were obtained through interviews and field observation as well as with the established theories. There were four significant findings. Firstly, in terms of physical-spatial definition, the combination of the location of buildings, public amenities and vegetation around the edge of the open spaces were found to be the main defining factor to the perception of the spatial shapes that led to users' satisfaction with the open spaces, thus contributed to their viability. Secondly, in terms of the functions, the most vibrant place had varied functions such as public transportation, parking spaces, resting and eating places with commercials as the most dominant use and was located within close proximity and easily accessible for the users. In other words, the users were attracted to the open space because of its many functional elements, which provided them with choices of activities. The combination of the first and second findings contributed to the justification of the qualities of the appropriate urban public open spaces. The last finding is related to the research methodology. Although classification of the participating respondents into different groups was justifiably considered insignificant in this research, it was discovered that the employed sampling technique, which was a combination of two different but proven sampling techniques (time-interval and cluster sampling techniques), was able to reflect the general distribution and characteristics of Kota Bharu population. Consequently, the findings of this research have several implications on the planning policies and urban design strategies with regard to the public open space in terms of spatial physical planning and design, conservation, functional planning and in the implementation of urban projects that have public significance. These implications are only specifically discussed in relation to Kota Bharu town center. The main contribution of this research to the body of knowledge lies in its appraisal of the qualities of appropriateness in the context of urban design

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Thesis (Ph.D (Senibina)) - Universiti Teknologi Malaysia,2008; Supervisor : Assoc. Prof. Dr Shuhana Shamsuddin
Uncontrolled Keywords:public open space, Malaysian town, morphological development
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Divisions:Built Environment
ID Code:18711
Deposited By: Narimah Nawil
Deposited On:18 Dec 2013 14:19
Last Modified:25 Jul 2018 16:01

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