Towards a socially vibrant city: exploring urban typologies and morphologies of the emerging “CityWalks” in Dubai

Alaa Omar Kordi, Khaled Galal Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vertical urbanization to maximize land use in many cities has led to a shortage of urban spaces that could adequately meet people's needs. In response, CityWalk has emerged as a new urban form to solve this problem by attracting people to go from inside closed buildings to outside walks. Thus, it is promoting health, economy, and tourism. Locally in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), especially in Dubai, a limited number of CityWalks have been developed. Despite the increasing popularity of CityWalks, there has been a gap in research examining their distinct emerging urban typologies and their urban configuration. This study seeks to address this gap by first conceptualizing CityWalk as an emerging urban public space based on the exploration of global and local experiences. Second, the study categorized the morphological configuration of three selected case studies of CityWalks in Dubai using Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. These case studies represent three different developments of CityWalks in three different contexts in the UAE. First, CityWalks within the inner city's urban context are represented by ‘City Walk’ in Al Wasel. Second, CityWalks surrounded by the sea represented by 'The Walk’ in Marsa Dubai. Third, CityWalks developed next to traditional buildings represented by ‘Al Seef’ in Al Hamriya. The findings of the research investigations reveal that the emerging ‘CityWalks’ developments in each of the three different urban contexts in Dubai do not represent a single familiar urban space typology but rather a ‘harmonious’ blend of global and local urban design typologies. In addition, the urban morphological analysis of these three urban developments underscores the distinctive characteristics of each of them in terms of street network, urban form, urban compactness, land use, and shading. This contributes to better understanding of these emerging urban forms and hence pave the way for more research about their socio-economic robustness to ultimately contribute to more successful future designs of ‘CityWalks’ in Dubai and other cities in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
JournalCity, Territory and Architecture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • CityWalk, public space
  • Configuration
  • Dubai, UAE
  • GIS
  • Urban form, Urban morphology
  • Urban typology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Architecture
  • Urban Studies


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