Sustaining the liveliness of public spaces in El Houma through placemaking: the case of Algiers

Mohamed Yazid Khemri, Alessandro Melis, Silvio Caputo

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This paper takes Algiers as a case study, it will highlight the social use of urban spaces in El Houma, in the Algerian capital, as a form of placemaking, intended here as a people-centred approach that aims at improving urban spaces within a neighbourhood.

El Houma is a word for neighbourhood in North Africa -synonymous with Hara and Mahalla in the Middle East-. El Houma is not a typical neighbourhood that only houses people, it is a socio-spatial product formed by social relations between residents of the same neighbourhood. It is, therefore, a way of representing urban space though social practices, creating a strong sense of community, a sense of place and social interaction.

Based on theories and mapping techniques in urban sociology and urban design, the research applies a methodology of activity mapping, in order to investigate patterns of outdoor social activities in public spaces and their correlation with the physical design of the neighbourhood. The research will measure the liveliness of public spaces exploring how people adapted their lifestyle to the built environment and vice versa. The findings demonstrate how the different social activities are spatially distributed, and their impact on the liveliness of el Houma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-152
Number of pages24
JournalThe Journal of Public Space
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2020


  • placemaking
  • el Houma
  • social use of urban space
  • liveliness
  • Algiers


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