Streets for People

Al Majaz is one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Sharjah. The area is characterised by high-rise mixed use development, public parks, amenities, and prime waterfront real estate. A daily fountain show within the Khalid Lagoon attracts many visitors and tourists. Pragma was tasked to study and propose possibilities for improving the sidewalks adjacent to the buildings and create dedicated spill out and pedestrian zones. The project entailed conducting surveys, mapping existing conditions, analyzing pedestrian patterns and testing multiple parking strategies. Pragma’s scope also included proposing recommendations for land use zoning, built form, and public transport coverage.

Site visits and user group surveys were conducted to identify problematic issues. The existing sidewalk and on-street parking negatively impact the character and livability of the nieghbourhood as well as the economic vitality of the retail frontage. It is often difficult to find parking in proximity to the intended destination despite the abundance of 45 degree on-street parking along the length of the lagoon driveway. Street life only happens on the waterfront side – away from the buildings and the retail venues that occupy the ground levels. This is primarily due to the narrow unregulated configuration of the sidewalk.

Wider treelined sidewalks were proposed by restructuring the Right of Way and reducing the width of the median in order to invite public life to the other side of the street. The intention is to transform it to more than just a sidewalk. It is a destination, a place to stroll, to sit and dine, or to see other people. We focused on the influence of the street’s function and character – acting as provocateur to drag the dialogue away from streets dominated by carriageways and parking zones and towards streets of ‘city life’. The study investigated possible car parking solutions and alternatives based on walking radii, available land, and time sharing. “If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan cities for people and places, you get people and places” – Fred Kent


For a busy street where space is precious, parking could be minimized to short-term and drop off zones, reducing the semi-permanent ‘barrier’ effect of static parking and freeing up space for people activities in the sun. Connections to the proposed parking structures behind the main street are highlighted and enhanced adding a layer of vibrancy and thoroughfare through and barren space between buildings.

Team: Jafar Abbas, Fayez Najeeb, Yasser Alserif

Client: Sharjah Department of Planning and Survey

Collaborators: Architect of Record, Shape Architecture & Research

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