Enhancing the Quality of Urban Life in Urban Poverty Areas through a Strategy of Integral Multi Approaches: Public Spaces as Arena for Change

Ahmed Elewa
Urban poverty areas (UPA) in the main cities of the emerging and developing countries are representing the product of a chaotic urban-isation process. This process started through the recent decades as a result of the economic reform in many Emerging countries, mainly in Asia, South America, and some cases in Africa such as Egypt and South Africa. Under the umbrella of the term UPA, there are many other terms such as slums, shantytowns and informal urbanism. In this study, the focus is on a special case of UPA which exist in the main cities of the emerging countries and some cases of developing countries. These UPA have some of the slums characteristics, which indicate the low quality of the urban life such as the pollution of the urban environment, the high density of built up area and the lack of social spaces. However, these areas mainly consist of permanent buildings which were built in most cases by the dwellers themselves due to their basic socio-economic needs, also in most of the cases the basic infrastructure are available. The study hypothesis is discussing the possibility of enhancing the quality of urban life in those UPA through a strategy of integral mul-ti approaches based on the potential opportunities of public spaces. In other words, the key to a successful strategy is “integration”, meaning that all approaches, policies, and projects are considered in relation to one another. This includes the using of new approaches such as green infrastructure (GI) through an integration framework with the other prevalent urban approaches such as participatory, towards innova-tively interactive urban communities. An analytical comparative study was done based on qualitative methods by studying various case studies of UPA in main cities of emerging and developing countries that were up-graded through a strategy of integral multi approaches. These rely on the public spaces as a medium for change, as well the using of quantitative and qualitative methods through actual case studies. The results represent lessons from practice. Based on actual cases, the cumulative urban experiences through various selected cases of upgrading UPA showed that the success depends on the using of an integral approach (multi-disciplinary) that relies on livable innovative public spaces. The new approaches such as GI cannot stand alone, but the strategies can be efficient by using integral an multi approach strategy. The cases also showed that public spaces in UPA are cen-ters of the daily socioeconomic activities, which is why these areas can act as arenas for change, towards better quality of urban life.


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