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Small town community social interaction in public spaces

Elfartas, Hesham Omran (2015) Small town community social interaction in public spaces. PhD thesis, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Faculty of Built Environment.

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Abstract

Interaction of people in public spaces of a multi-ethnic urban community can generate cohesion. In turn, this social action within a neighborhood leads to a harmonious community and simultaneously promotes national unity. This issue is relevant in towns of Peninsular Malaysia with multi-ethnic population of Malay, Chinese and Indian. However, there is a lack of studies that look at the interaction between these ethnic groups in public spaces such as parks, squares and playfields. This study investigates the relationship between physical attributes and utilization of public spaces and its effects on social interaction among users in multi-ethnic urban community in Malaysian towns. Survey questionnaires and interviews were conducted to elicit responses from users of parks, squares and playfields within Batu Pahat town in Johor, Malaysia. A total of 378 respondents participated in the survey and 34 respondents were interviewed in three study sites. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics, Rasch Measurement Model and Structural Equation Model. The questionnaires and interviews elicited three main parameters which were socialization, quality of the setting attributes and attractiveness of experiences on public spaces. It is found that the Malays utilized urban square and playfield more than the Chinese and the Indians because they frequently visited the night market. The Chinese utilized the park more than the Malays and Indians because they wanted to engage in jogging and walking due to aesthetics of the parks. The Indians were the least attracted to the urban park, urban square and playfield because they perceived that the qualities and activities of the space were not reflective of their cultural values. The results revealed different degree of public space utilisation and perceived interaction among the different ethnic groups. It uncovered that most of the visitors like to meet and interact more with family members in the park and square, while they preferred to be with their friends from same ethnicity in the playfield. The attributes such as aesthetic nature, security system, lighting and cleanliness in public spaces attracted more people to visit public space and contributed to positive social interaction. Therefore, the study concludes that public spaces with adequate attributes are avenues for diverse multi-ethnic of public users to meet and socialize.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Thesis (Ph.D (Senibina)) - Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 2015; Supervisors : Prof. Dr. Ismail Said, Dr. Sapura Mohamad, Dr. Mohd. Hisyam Rasidi
Uncontrolled Keywords:social interaction, multi-ethnic urban community
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races > HT101-395 Sociology, Urban
Divisions:Built Environment
ID Code:54759
Deposited By: Fazli Masari
Deposited On:13 May 2016 10:21
Last Modified:05 Nov 2020 14:45

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