The Era of Agoraphobia. Evaluation of the Public Spaces in Alexandria
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Public places have a major impact on people's lives and attitudes; they transmit an indirect message to the users and develop a conversation, whether it is an invitation or suppression. Open spaces can cause agoraphobia – or discomfort – by simply adding or removing some physical features, or by excluding lower socio-economic classes. This causes physiological discomfort and an uninviting experience for the affected people. Alexandria's urban fabric is influenced by the socio-spatial features that shape the image of the city. However, since the 2011 revolution, Alexandria has been subjected to several developments – planned or ad-hoc – as a result of top-down planning. The city's urban character, especially in the public spaces, has been altered; these transitions have had a direct impact on Alexandria's urban identity and social activities. In the wave of the diminishing and closing of vital urban spaces in Alexandria, the future of Alexandria is at a crossroad shifting the human-landscape relationship: either the continuance of diminishing urban spaces will keep moving at the same pace, or a visionary endeavour will be proposed to revive the open spaces. Therefore, this paper explores the hypothesis that the transformations observed in Alexandria's urban spaces have had a negative impact. It investigates the deviations in urban scenography that ostensibly disrupted the communities' lives and sense of belonging. This study illustrates four examples of spaces that differ in their types, uses, values, and challenges; each case study reveals particular factors of agoraphobia that have affected the former users ever since 2011.
Trialog - A Journal for Planning and Building in a Global Context #143 “City, Community and Heritage in Egypt: 2011-2021” edited by Hebatalla Abouelfadl, Mirhan Damir, Mohamed ElGamal and Franziska Laue
- Journal Article