I am currently working on a project to re-design a public park as a personal project. If you are unaware, we do have parks in Kuwait. They are, unfortunately, badly designed and poorly maintained. There is in fact a park, or an intention of a park, in every area. Back in the 1980s, a lot of thought and effort was put into making Kuwait greener and more beautiful. Actually, the ministry of public works had issued two plans referred to as Tashjeer and Takhdheer (Tree-planting and green-making respectively). In 1987, they even had plans to create a green belt around Kuwait to protect it from sand storms. My guess is that those projects were interrupted.
I started brainstorming ideas for parks in Kuwait when I was training in London. I just couldn’t bare the fact that I will soon be back to a ‘Regents Park’-less place. The weather has always been an issue in Kuwait and it is considered in every project before designing. If the designers of the parks in Kuwait have at least considered the park as a project, then they would have found ways to make this outdoor space more tolerable and enjoyable to the users.
I looked at some parks and interestingly enough they all have the requirements of a successful park. There are one to three playing areas for the kids in each park, toilets and a guard’s room. Some parks even had stretching and exercise benches, which I thought was great, until I touched one and it was burning from the heat. A good element is that one can see that there was some planning put into the location of the trees, grass and sand areas. What I loved the most in the planning is that all parks had a gazebo (a shaded device where people can sit under). Unfortunately, some of the gazebos were in a location that the sun can penetrate.
So basically, what I can conclude from my initial observations is that the design of the public park in Kuwait lacks consideration of the sun’s direction. This will be the main concern in the re-constructing of the park along with natural ventilation and passive cooling. These should really be the most important elements while designing an open, outdoor space in a hot, arid country, yet they have been completely ignored!