The Role of Vegetation towards Improving Community Parks as a Medium for Cultural Expression
The reciprocal influences between local cultures and the built environment have been extensively discussed in literature (e.g. Rapoport, 1977; Spencer, 2012; Ockman, 1993). Urban parks too can play a major role as a medium for cultural expression (e.g. Heidt and Neef, 2008; Rapoport, 1976; Dooyeweerd 1979). This role has been lately compromised in Egypt under the pressures of negligence and urban encroachment. However, recent state plans in new urban settlements seem to develop urban parks primarily on the bases of economical, utilitarian, and technical considerations, with little attention being paid to the cultural dimension. The main objective of the present study is to develop an understanding to the role of vegetation, amongst otherdesign elements in urban parks, towards the pursuit of a better medium for cultural expression, as applied to Cairo, Egypt.Towards this objective, the study adopts a qualitative approach. First, an analytical investigation to the literature is carried out to develop a theoretical framework for the study. Afterwards, a qualitative analysis to selected community parks in Cairotakes place, together with in-depth readings into the outcome of interview surveys (19 participants). This concludes to understanding to the qualities associated with vegetation towards improving the design of urban parks as a medium for cultural expression. This shall help designers, developers and decision makers take more informed decisions towards the development of the built environment in Egypt.
Keywords - Urban Parks, Culture Ecology, Vegetation; Cairo, Egypt