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Exploring socio-spatial aspects of traditional souqs : the case of souq Mutrah, Oman

Al-Maimani, Ahood and Salama, Ashraf M. and Fadli, Fodil (2014) Exploring socio-spatial aspects of traditional souqs : the case of souq Mutrah, Oman. ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, 8 (1). pp. 50-65. ISSN 1938-7806

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Traditional souqs in the Arabian Peninsula continue to be major focal points of trade, commerce, exchange, entertainment and social interaction. Souq Mutrah, in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman is one of these important regional souqs. This paper develops an experiential walkthrough assessment of three selected urban spaces - market places within Souq Mutrah by examining their spatial and socio-cultural aspects while implementing direct systematic observation and behavioral mapping procedure. The findings contribute to an in-depth understanding of the qualities of the three spaces and the resulting use, activities, and behavior representative of the inhabitants' spatial experience in those spaces. Assessment results reveal important outcomes that include that safety and security is the significant missing factor in Souq Mutrah spaces, which if provided, can attract more users while supporting their needs.