Enhancing Urban Connectivity and Regeneration of Historic Areas: Case Study of Heart of Sharjah

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Sustainable urban regeneration of historical districts in the Gulf Region generally and in the United Arab Emirates specifically becomes a dynamic area of development during the last decade. This research employs the integrative design process of sustainable urban regeneration of the historical district in Sharjah city in UAE by applying comprehensive design strategies to promote connectivity and revitalize the public places and consequent place identity and people well being. It also improves physical and visual connectivity and integration within the neighborhood and among the surrounding areas to encourage walkability in the district provides a liveable community, and increase accessibility and social interaction. A unique and significant historical district in Sharjah called ‘Heart of Sharjah’ is analyzed and assessed in terms of its livability and connectivity through a resilient urban framework. It does so through conducting a field study to understand the current master plan situation, its potential, limitations, and characteristics. To permit this, a correlation between the quantitative and qualitative approach was applied through conducting field study and parametric simulation tool to validate input data that are used in space syntax computer simulation program for visualizing and generate model analysis starting with the existing master plan, proposed master plan by Shurooq, then to optimize and regenerate design proposals that meet all the goals and visions at different levels for a sustainable neighborhood. All scenarios were tested and evaluated for each parameter of space syntax (connectivity, integration, choice, visibility graph analysis). The study yielded several significant findings; most notable was the increment of the integration value of the optimized master plan by approximately 41% in comparison with Shurooq proposed master plan 2025, as a result of improving the urban configuration, the street network enhances the connection between the old district and the waterfront, and introducing a central plaza to be connected with Al Rola park to achieve the holistic desired approach.
sustainable urban design, historical district regeneration, connectivity, liveability, United Arab Emirates (UAE)