Understanding Urban Segregation: Issues of Ethnicity, Age and Gender in Nicosia’s Public Space

By Nadia Charalambous.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In line with the issues posed by the track “Disciplines of Design,” this paper attempts a study of the use of public space by different and diverse groups in the city of Nicosia, Cyprus. The ethnic demographic of Cyprus is subject to a changing population dynamic precipitated by net in-migration, both from EU and Third countries. As a result a number of diverse groups inhabit the city’s urban centre. Recent sociological studies have suggested socio-cultural segregation in the use of public squares and municipality parks of Nicosia although this has not yet been systematically examined. Sharing the views of recent research work, that social segregation is inherently a spatial problem and as such needs to be studied in a more spatially relevant way, the paper attempts to explore integration and segregation through accessibility and use of public space by different and diverse groups, with a focus on gender and culture. Some initial and basic observations about urban space and its relation to social phenomena eventually developed into the paper’s research questions (a) what is the spatial mechanism involved in the creation of socially segregated public spaces? (b) how are different groups in Cypriot society able to share public space? (c) how do these groups experience and understand their social position in the urban setting? what are the unofficial pathways to participation and belonging and how is this transforming the use of local public squares and publicly available leisure zones in the city? The mapping of socioeconomic and spatial data has been considered useful if not necessary in addressing the aforementioned issues. Space syntax methods of analysis, coupled with the use of primary census data and historical maps of the walled city of Nicosia in Cyprus, has enabled a detailed analysis and study of the spatial and socio-economic structure of the city’s major urban areas.

Keywords: Public Space, Diversity, Segregation

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.527-542. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.513MB).

Dr. Nadia Charalambous

Lecturer, Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus

Nadia Charalambous trained as an architect and has been working as an academic and researcher at the University of Cyprus since 2008. Underpinning all research and professional activities is a continuous interest in the socio-spatial dimensions of society and culture through a combination of spatial and social research methods. Recent research work investigates the complex relationship between urban form and social exclusion, ethnic concentrations, ethnic segregation in residential and public space. Recent research projects attempt to explore integration and segregation through accessibility and use of public space and in residential areas in ethnically mixed cities, such as Nicosia. Configurational theories and methods integrating the morphological, functional and perception complexities of urban space are applied through detailed mapping of spatial and socioeconomic data.


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