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Sharing Public Space in an Informally Developed Historic City–the case of Old Dhaka


Sharing Public Space in an Informally Developed Historic City–the case of Old Dhaka

Islam, A K M Kausarul (2014) Sharing Public Space in an Informally Developed Historic City–the case of Old Dhaka. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Multiple ethnic and religious groups share the limited public space of Old Dhaka for socio-cultural, religious, commercial activities and also for everyday traffic. Shared understanding across religious and cultural groups of the purposes of certain streets, negotiation between users of the street, and tacit agreement on spatial use, describe some of the mechanisms that allow the very intensive use of the street network. Yet this sharing of the public space co-exists with a sense of belonging and spatial focus for Old Dhaka communities. This thesis examines these mechanisms of space sharing firstly by trying to understand how local groups perceive the streets and their degree of involvement in the activities that take place there. Secondly, the details of space self-management are examined in a sample of streets. Thirdly, the roles of informal communications between authorities, landholders and street users were assessed.

Old Dhaka, has almost no shared public spaces except its community streets. Competition for the available space by myriad groups has led to a highly complex spatial and temporal formula for sharing all of the important streets. For commercial use, the rule of sharing space between formal and informal sectors is highly uniform in practice. This necessary sharing of space explains the remarkable social harmony of this crowded and diverse urban community. This harmony, however, is challenged by the increasing heterogeneity of the community and a tendency to territorialize parts of this shared public space.

Innovative methods for capturing the use of space were necessary in this research and were developed prior to entering the field. Indeed, there are only rare examples in the literature. Existing major behavior recording methods are either too descriptive or abstract and also lack transferability. This thesis developed a method for recording behavior that fulfils a need in existing methods. Unobtrusive observation, key informant interviews, structured questionnaires, and a photographic survey were the major methods of investigation and data collection. This research provides insights on the mechanisms of space sharing as well as the control system, motivations for personal choices and a spatially based sense of belonging.

Key words: Behavior pattern, shared space, urban street, spatial qualities

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies > Individualized Program
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Islam, A K M Kausarul
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Special Individualized Program
Date:September 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Zacharias, John
ID Code:979007
Deposited On:16 Jul 2015 15:02
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:48
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