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Title:Cultural change and urban design: Women's privacy in traditional and modern Damascus
Author(s):Al-Kodmany, M. Kheir Al-Din
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Riley, Robert B.
Department / Program:Urban and Regional Planning
Discipline:Urban and Regional Planning
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Urban and Regional Planning
Abstract:This study explores the suitability of traditional Islamic versus modern Western built-environments to the current cultural climate in Damascus. The issue of privacy, and that of women in particular have been important in the Arabic-Islamic society. However, women in this society are undergoing major economic, political, and social changes; the women's domain has shifted from private (home) to public (school and work). These cultural changes and the sharp differences in the two environments (the inwardly traditional as opposed to the outwardly modern) raised important questions. Which residential environment best fit residents' desire for privacy, particularly that of women? And how can contemporary design respond to cultural changes, again in relation to women's desire for privacy?
Empirical investigations were conducted in two middle-class residential neighborhoods--one traditional and the other modern--interviewing 61 middle-age women, 30 in the traditional and 31 in the modern. The traditional section is characterized by inwardly-oriented homes, narrow and winding streets, and few open spaces. In contrast, the modern section is composed of outwardly-oriented homes, wide and straight streets, and many open spaces. Questions focused on women's privacy at homes and neighborhoods, as well as streets, parks, and coffee shops.
By using statistical analysis techniques, this study first measured women's desire for privacy in homes and neighborhoods from people other than their immediate families; second, the privacy actually achieved in two different built-environments. Consequently, the desired and the achieved privacy in traditional and modern neighborhoods were compared. Results showed that women, for privacy, preferred traditional homes to modern ones; in contrast, they preferred modern neighborhoods to traditional ones. Finally, residents' responses helped to suggest guidelines for designing homes and neighborhoods in Damascus.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Al-Kodmany, M. Kheir Al-Din
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9624275
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9624275

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