Posted by: Barrak Al-Babtain | February 22, 2010

Qortuba Public Park

I shot that video today walking through the park. It’s just as filthy as when I last saw it. It’s a shame, because the park itself is pretty decent. You can hear the birds and the trees are healthy. What would it take for the park to be successful? First of all, how would we define success? I think it has to be a place full of kids and families, a place that they feel safe going to and enjoy being in. No litter and graffiti. The park has to be well lit at night, not with stupid floodlights that blind people who look in their direction, but with subtle lighting that does its job without being irritating.

It really wouldn’t take much of an effort to make that all happen. I still think the Facebook page idea is a good one and is the best way to get the community involved and ‘own’ the park for themselves. It’s a very achievable goal. I’ll probably do the Facebook page myself in a few weeks and I hope it turns out as well as I think it will. Any ideas?

Things we can do to fix it:

  1. Clean-up program with local kids (litter removal and painting over graffiti)
  2. More rubbish bins (one near every BBQ grill and seating area, people want to throw stuff in bins but they’re too far away or full)
  3. Cover the sand around the playground and wherever there’s sand with mulch. It’s safer and stores the nutrients in the soil. Mulch can be anything, but I suggest rubber mulch.
  4. Take out all of the stupid floodlights. They ruin the atmosphere and blind people who look near them. They’re the wrong choice.
  5. Install ground lighting around the running track and lights under every bench. The seating areas have to be individually lit from within as well as the circulation that leads to them. No dark spaces, but no annoying mega-lights either.
  6. Hire a maintenance guy and a security guy. The facility is there and it needs to be fixed. This is critical.
  7. Change the boring and unimaginative signs outside the park. They’re not inviting.
  8. This is a personal preference, and I understand the reason for having it, but I would demolish the wall and slowly expand the park outwards filling up all the dead space that surrounds it.
  9. The Facebook page.
  10. Plant a much wider variety of plants and flowers. There’s too much of the same thing and variety attracts more birds and is visually appealing.

Edit – I know i’m dancing around the topic, but I would LOVE to redesign the park…

Note: Please ignore the actual design, the image is mainly to illustrate the point and to show the potential program that can be in place.



  1. Most of the public parks are a waste. Parks are meant for kids to play around and for families to spend some creative outdoor time together (apart from the malls).

    The Salmiya park (nr 5th Ring Rd) is also a case of neglect, considering the fact that it is one of the most busy parks in Kuwait. People come there for a morning walk / job, play, do excecises / yoga, spend time with kids, enjoy a picnic. Still the facilities are lacking and the green cover is minimal to call it a park.

    Somebody gotta do something.


  2. I’m sure you mean ‘public parks are wasted‘, meaning that they’re not fulfilling their potential. That’s true, and most parks in Kuwait (at least the ones that i’ve been to) are in a similar state of disrepair as Qortuba.

    I still think that if a few dedicated people use Facebook to organize with their local community, they can fix things themselves. We can’t just sit around and wait for divine intervention. That’s never going to happen, and it doesn’t help the community. I mean, people can start a Salmiya Park Facebook page and organize events and demand fixes to certain things by having everyone call the authorities (the numbers of whom are on the Facebook page) to get them to act.

    It can work.

  3. While facebook is great, and I’m sure it will be help connect users of the park together I think you need more ‘real world’ connections to get this up and running. It would be fantastic if Qurtoba schools and local schoolchildren involved to help out. Get the word out through the parents that something is happening. Eventually, maybe set up a park program that is duplicated in other areas, you know? Also, get the local co-op and get them involved beyond just installing the usual slides and swings.

  4. Kuwait is seriously suffering from a huge littering dilemma. Over the last few years I’ve seen that its grown even worse, and to be honest i believe the problem stems from a lack of trash can! you may think its strange but walking around public areas, i find there are a lack of trash cans

  5. this is a paragraph in an article in alwatan today :
    ي بريطانيا العظمى.. لا تخلو منطقة من «بارك» او حديقة عامة بين البيوت، لان هذه الحديقة تعتبر متنفساً لسكان المنطقة، ففيها يجري الشاب ليحافظ على لياقته، وفيها تخرج الفتاة برفقة كلبها ليقضي.. «ما ادري شنو»! وحتى الاسر تخرج للحديقة لتناول وجبة خفيفه بين احضان الطبيعة، ولكي تكسر روتين «الزواره» المعتاد!
    اما في الكويت العظمى.. فالحدائق الموجودة في المناطق السكنية، مخصصة في كل شيء سوى التنزه والرياضة! ففي حديقة قرطبة على سبيل المثال يمكنك ان تخطف رجلاً وتستجوبه، وتعذبه بالكهرباء في الظلام الدامس.. او في غرفة الحارس المهجوره.. ولن يراقبك احد او يسألك احد! ومنا لجمعية قرطبة لانتشال الحديقة وصيانتها لاهالي المنطقة.. لان هيئة الزراعة مشغولة بكل شيء تافه.. سوى الحدائق التابعه لها!

  6. السلام عليكم
    مشكور اخوي براك والله انا اتفق معاك على انة نعيد احياء الحديقة لان انا شخصيا احب اقعد فيها و اقضي وقتي فيها لاكن من بدايه ما انحاش الحارس والحديقة تنتقل الى الاسوء وانا اشوف الزوار يوم الجمعة والسبت يزورون الحديىقة لاكن للأسف قليل منهم يساهم بالمحافظه عليها وانا بس حبيت اني اعلمك ان انا اساندك ابهل موضوع وريت تضمني ابفريقك اذا كان في فريق بس اهم شي اني ابي اشارك في المحافظه على مكان انا احبه

    • Thanks Abdulrahman,

      I didn’t know that the guard simply left. If so, why hasn’t he been replaced? It’s such a simple job, there must be someone willing to do it! I haven’t been there in a while, but the last time I was there the water system hasn’t been turned on for months and trash was still piling up.

      I tried going into the electrical room to see if there was a problem there. It was very dark. I heard a loud buzzing noise so I thought maybe it was turned on but there was a problem somewhere else. Then I realized that the buzz was millions of mosquitos all around me, so I ran the hell out of there.

      It’s a real shame that the place is being neglected the way it is. I bet you that if there wasn’t a fence surrounding it that it wouldn’t be as bad, because people can actually look in all the time and see the decay and feel compelled to do something about it, but since its shielded by the fence, it’s out of the way and people can ignore the damage.

  7. […] all the fences that surround public parks. I’ve asked for this a couple of times (here and here) and it seems their reason for removing them was mainly to stop people abusing the parks for […]

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