Al-Hagla, Khalid. "Towards a Sustainable Neighborhood: The Role of Open Spaces," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 2, issue 2 (2008).
The neighborhood is a basic planning entity in modern residential planning theories. However open spaces as a vital constituent of the neighborhood’s physical structure, have an important role to play. They are the arena of both, neighbors’ outdoor interactions–consequently building the neighborhood’s sense of community- and the micro ecological sphere - setting its parameters and configuring its fundamentals. The paper aims to investigate the roles and responsibilities that open spaces -in neighborhoods- have to take to achieve sustainability goals and objectives. However it follows an approach based on both the social and ecological neighborhood’s ability to tackle sustainability issues. It focuses on the typical open space structure of the neighborhood as the media of different social and ecological interactions. Regarding this concern the paper differentiates between two main categories of the neighborhood’s open space; “greenspace” and “greyspace”. Moreover, the paper develops a three dimension matrix that sets the interrelations between different types of neighborhood open space and sustainability goals and objectives that have to be achieved within the community. It uses this matrix to assess the sustainability performance of different typologies of open space; moreover it determines the priorities of sustainability parameters that have to be applied to an assigned open space. Finally, the paper applies its findings to two different typologies of open spaces in Lebanon; Beirut Pine ‘Horsh Beirut’ as a greenspace, and the historical market, and pedestrian streets in Byblos as a greyspace. The application comes to show the validity of conceptual application of the proposed matrix.