Outdoor recreation and leisure patterns in Saudi Arabia and their roles in determining open space planning and design : the case of Jeddah's Corniche
The thesis deals with outdoor recreational opportunities within the urban environment of Jeddah. The lack of sufficient research on resource demand has persuaded the author to attempt to reach an understanding of the existing outdoor recreational and leisure facilities that have shaped the current provision, to determine present use and attitudes and their compatibility with the local culture and environment. The study argues that there is a relationship between various external influences which dominate the planning and design of outdoor recreational provision and users' satisfaction, attitudes, and their leisure behaviour. Despite the great demand for recreation, municipalities have made inadequate provision, which is not based on social or behavioural studies. That is without considering people's desires and needs. Factors such as culture and climate will influence the users' behaviour and their use of recreational opportunities which were disregarded in the planning and design process. Plans and concepts from foreign cultures were blindly used to shape outdoor recreational areas, which created problems such as privacy intrusion for women, and the failure to predict future behaviour. This research investigates how visitors use the space, their demands and what are the hidden social problems to be solved. The research involved a questionnaire, observation and a personal landscape architectural appraisal of Jeddah's Corniche in Jeddah in the summer of 1989. The questionnaire investigates visitors' needs, uses and problems of the recreational facilities. The open space observation explores the intensity of use, type of activity, type of user and their behaviour. The results confirmed the inadequacy of some recreational sites because they adhered to geometrical shapes which had neither integration, nor function, nor did they form adequate space articulation with appropriate shade and shelter. The overall layout causes people's dissatisfaction, especially when their women and children's privacy and safety were exposed to other eyes and physical contacts with traffic or the dangers of sea water. The study raised the need for the development of a strategy and guidelines to prevent future problems on leisure and recreation particularly with respect to local culture. Accordingly the data collected enabled the author to suggest that landscape architectural concepts must be adapted to the Saudi environment, which would seem to be most effective in satisfying existing demand for adequate patterns.