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Home / Regular Issue / JTAS Vol. 31 (4) Dec. 2023 / JSSH-8826-2022


Impact and Role of the Public Realm in Creating More Socially Cohesive Communities: A Case Study of Urban Pattern in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Adilet Kozhakhmetov and Alexey Abilov

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 31, Issue 4, December 2023


Keywords: Almaty, development projects, public realm, social cohesion, urban pattern

Published on: 13 December 2023

Over the last three decades, there has been a notable transformation in urban growth patterns in Kazakhstan’s large cities, particularly in Almaty. While this can be traced back to market-oriented planning agendas, the increasing fragmentation of the public realm in cities can be linked to the recent residential development projects. The rise of these projects in post-Soviet neighbourhoods is often criticised due to their typology, as developers create them as gated communities. These patterns’ socio and spatial fragmentation is associated with fewer opportunities for social interaction between Soviet neighbourhoods and the more recent exclusive communities. Therefore, this paper investigates the key issues present in the urban patterns of Almaty city that can hinder the creation of a more cohesive society. It presents a case study of other Soviet-developed neighbourhoods with similar development patterns. The study’s methodology includes morphological mapping, observation of the use of the public realm and a survey of residents to support the findings. The investigation focuses on one of the typical urban patterns of mixed-use Soviet neighbourhoods and recent urban residential blocks, where an opportunity lies for perspective communities. The research reveals a lack of social cohesion between local communities due to mono-functional land use, poor permeability and accessibility that fragmented the city into closed neighbourhoods. The research dives into the core issues of Soviet and post-Soviet urban morphology’s outcomes in the public realm and the impact on social life in these neighbourhoods.

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