The Sidewalk as a Contested Space: Women’s Negotiation of Socio-Spatial Processes of Exclusion in Public Urban Space in Saudi Arabia; The Case of Al Tahlia Street

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

Riyadh is one of the most gender-segregated cities in the world. However, as gender segregation is less enforced on sidewalks, it provides an optimal case study for a space where women and men may be co-present. Thus, this paper aims to increase the understanding of the relationship between sociocultural norms and spatial programming regarding spatio-temporal inclusion or exclusion in public urban spaces. The results show that women’s use and access to sidewalks are influenced by gender norms, religious values, gendered regulations, and generic spatial programming. For instance, regulations limit the use of outdoor seating to men only, thus sidewalks adjacent to, e.g., cafes function as mono-gender spaces dominated by men. However, young women negotiate spatially bounded gender norms through their presence, behaviour, and dress. Although sidewalks are conceived as men’s space, women account for nearly half of the users, but their use often goes unnoticed as women self-regulate their spatio-temporal and visible presence. The study presents six types of women’s spatio-temporal behaviours with varying degrees of visible and invisible users. Ultimately, this paper argues that planning for inclusive sidewalks cannot be addressed solely through the ‘universal’ characterization of space; it should also be supplemented by context-specific knowledge regarding the socio-spatial needs.
TidsskriftPlanning Practice and Research
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)186-210
Antal sider25
StatusUdgivet - 2018

ID: 188117314