Investigation of Social Sustainability Factors in the Public Market during the Pandemic; the Case of Al Ain Market, UAE

Rim Anabtawi, Sahera Bleibleh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Public markets have always been essential elements of city dynamics. This remains crucial even during the recent COVID19 pandemic, where public markets continue to socioeconomically sustain cities. While the COVID19 crisis caused additional uncertainties to city public spaces in general, public markets were resilient and continued to offer some sort of social interactions that requires in-depth investigation. Following a pilot study analysis, this paper aims to evaluate the impact and relevance of social sustainability factors, and resilience of public market in Al Ain city, in the United Arab Emirates, mainly during the COVID 19 pandemic. The research adopted a mixed-method approach to evaluate social sustainability's physical and non-physical factors in the Al Ain public market. To investigate the correlation between public space and people perception, a conceptual framework has been developed based on theories of social sustainability, urban resilience, human behavior, and public space. Accordingly, multiple research tools have been applied to assess social sustainability factors, such as field observations, interviews, and surveys. The study results indicate that although Al Ain public market maybe physically not fully utilized as a public space, it offers high adaptability and multiple social conditions for multiple users. This includes social cohesion and a source of place attachment where people connect with memories, they collected over years of visiting the market. The research concludes that Al Ain public market has partially achieved social sustainability factors retrieved from previous literature. The preliminary findings revealed yet more about the market adaptability and social sustainability factors, thus further research is ongoing to support generalization of outcomes in the context of UAE.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationZEMCH 2021 - 8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, Proceedings
EditorsKheira Anissa Tabet Aoul, Mohammed Tariq Shafiq, Daniel Efurosibina Attoye
PublisherZEMCH Network
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9789948310006
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, ZEMCH 2021 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: Oct 26 2021Oct 28 2021

Publication series

NameZEMCH International Conference
ISSN (Electronic)2652-2926


Conference8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, ZEMCH 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates


  • Al Ain
  • COVID 19
  • Pandemic
  • Public markets
  • Social sustainability
  • UAE
  • Urban resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Building and Construction
  • Architecture
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Computer Science Applications


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