Spatial Practice : The politics of "activating" public space in the State of Kuwait
Politics of "activating" public space in the State of Kuwait
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
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My thesis examines the socio-spatial dialectics that unfold throughout the development of public spaces in Kuwait. In my thesis, public space is understood as a space of urban dialogue between the state, the city, and the people. This dialogue can be understood by examining the spatial dynamics between three complex agents: the State, Kuwaiti citizens, and public space. This thesis examines the historical development of two site-specific typologies in Kuwait: first, the political actions taken in squares and streets; and second, the design interventions in large and small park networks within the city of Kuwait. In this thesis, I investigate the political dissent movement from Al-Safat square since 1938 and AI-Erada square since 2006, and the ways in which the government responds to each. Additionally, I examine the emergence of the park networks in Kuwait since the 1960s and more recent design movements found within the Secret Garden and the MantaqaMe movement in 2013 until today, in comparison to the larger-scale Al- Shaheed Park. This thesis argues that each space was appropriated by socio-political citizen movements as a symbolic space for political dispute over democracy or power. With each new socio-political movement, the government responds with 'new' legislation and spatial maneuvers aimed at disrupting these claims. Finally, I propose a more nuanced reading of public space in Kuwait, highlighting a more complex spatial relationship between the Kuwaiti citizens and the State. This thesis posits that public space is not only a container for politics but the space to reinstate spatial and political agency for a broad desire for change. Studying the two contested typologies, I seek to dismantle the neutral view of public space as simply scenic or functional in favor of a far more political history that is also a spatial history.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 2016.Vita. Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 172-179).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology