Stuck in the 20th Century? Kuwait’s Urbanisation, Transport, and Use of Public Space (Webinar)

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The PowerPoint presentations from the event can be viewed here: https://www.lse.ac.uk/middle-east-centre/events/2021/kuwaits-urbanisation This Kuwait Programme event was a discussion about two research projects - 'Public Space in Kuwait: From User Behaviour to Policy-making' led by Alexandra Gomes and Asseel Al-Ragam, and 'Towards an Equitable Transport System in Kuwait' led by Adeel Muhammad. This webinar will explore how Kuwait’s urbanisation trends and car-centric development have shaped planning, urban design, and individual behaviour with consequences for public health and the environment. The webinar included two presentations. The first from Alexandra Gomes and Asseel Al-Ragam on ‘Public space in Kuwait’ looked at some of the challenges and opportunities facing Kuwait’s residential neighbourhoods and everyday use of public space. The second from Reem Alfahad on ‘Social justice, transport and accessibility’ explored transport spatial inequalities at the city scale. Alexandra Gomes is a Research Officer at LSE Cities, where she is responsible for coordinating the Centre’s socio-spatial analysis across a range of projects. Focusing on urban studies, comparative analysis, urban inequalities, public space and urban walkability. She also teaches at UCL’s The Bartlett School of Planning, where she is finishing her PhD. Asseel Al-Ragam is Associate Professor of Architecture, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, Research, and Graduate Studies and Director of the Architecture Graduate Program at Kuwait University’s College of Architecture. She is an award-winning author with published research on Kuwait’s built environment. She was a research fellow and lecturer at École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture, Paris. She works as an architecture and planning consultant and is a member of the Technical Advisory Committee at Kuwait’s Private University Council. Sharifa Alshalfan is an architect, urban researcher and educator. She is part of a team of experts developing housing and urban policy recommendations at the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences. She also works as a consultant on urban development at the World Bank and teaches periodically at Kuwait University at the College of Architecture. Her work has been published by CITY, LSE Kuwait Programme, LSE Cities and the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs. Adeel Muhammad is a visiting post doctoral researcher at the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds. Previously, Adeel worked as a Research Officer at LSE Cities, on projects related to mapping and analysing the spatial and temporal dynamics of urban expansion and transport mobility across Asia and Africa. Reem Alfahad holds an MSc in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics, and a BA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. She is most interested in the cultural and social dynamics of inclusion, particularly as they relate to urban spaces. Most recently, through the LSE Kuwait Programme, she has focused on mobility access in Kuwait and the different sociocultural dimensions that include or exclude different groups from being able to move freely. Previously, she worked with Kantar Public in London, UK, and the Cultural Secretariat of Medellin, Colombia, among others. Outside of academic research, she is working on an audio documentary series focusing on globalized gentrification. Dr Courtney Freer is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the Middle East Centre. Her work focuses on the domestic politics of the Gulf states, particularly the roles played by Islamism and tribalism. Her book Rentier Islamism: The Influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gulf Monarchies, based on her DPhil thesis at the University of Oxford and published by Oxford University Press in 2018, examines the socio-political role played by Muslim Brotherhood groups in Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.

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