Khalidiya Garden is one of Abu Dhabi’s oldest public spaces, present on maps dating from the late 1970s. By spending time in the park and photographing its urban details and surroundings, one can discover a wealth of information that offers an insight into the history of Abu Dhabi’s urban development. Abu Dhabi’s public spaces are governed by the same overarching vision for the city and its buildings, an urban plan that has been shifting and morphing since the 1960s. Khalidiya Park contains a myriad of interesting examples of street furniture, mosques, public bathrooms, and service buildings, mostly designed in-house by the Municipality.
By taking a deeper look into these built forms that make up the park, we can plot a history of design for public spaces. In this way, the park functions as a repository of information, a record of the decisions that ultimately created a cohesive aesthetic identity, suitable for a capital city.
During our Photo Walk we will consider:
- How is the park designed, and how does this channel or restrict movement and activity around the park?
- How is this public space restricted and policed, and what does that reveal about Abu Dhabi’s social milieus?
- What kinds of people perform which activities in the park, and how is this reflective of the wider demographics of the city as a whole?
- Aesthetically, how do different parts of the park differ? Is there a cohesive design language, or can we find proof of changing visual trends?
- How can we document and present our findings through photography in order to answer these questions?