University of Khartoum

Impact of Commercial Streets on the Surrounding Residential Areas

Impact of Commercial Streets on the Surrounding Residential Areas

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Title: Impact of Commercial Streets on the Surrounding Residential Areas
Author: Abdelgader, Sheerin Mohammed
Abstract: Recently the phenomenon of what is known as commercial streets spread out due to the escalating need for commercial shops, particularly on main and collector streets of the big cities in Sudan. This phenomenon has as well spread in some Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where the streets there became trade oriented in a way that a whole street would be devoted to a certain type of commercial services such as a street of restaurants, a street of furniture, a street of electronics…etc. In order to regulate that phenomenon and to reduce its negative impact, the Ministry of Physical Planning has allowed through the Khartoum County Committee of Physical Planning to name and convert some of the main streets in Khartoum state to commercial streets. The said physical planning Ministry stipulated that the width of such proposed streets should not be less than 30 meters. Such width was suggested as the width which would be enough to accommodate both the commercial activity and the load of traffic that arises from the said activity. That change of main streets to become commercial streets especially in the residential areas came as a result of several factors some of which are economic, social and service demanded. So, in most cases this phenomenon has started with just one shop permit in the residential plot known as “Corner shop” which evolved into more than one shop in the same residential plot. Consequently this progressed to a series of shops and a wide interface of shops that overlook the main street. This continues on where we reach the full conversion of the entire plot to become exploited for commercial investment rather than for residential purposes allowing the owner after payment of modification fees to exploit the plot utterly for commercial purposes. The study deals with the negative impacts and problems resulting from the transfer of main streets to become commercial streets and the resultant change in land use from residential to commercial. The study accordingly identifies the stimulating factors that led to the displacement of commercial activity to the neighborhoods and main streets. It then analyzes the main characteristics of the commercial activity in relation to design and planning of the streets to avoid any negative repercussions on the surrounding residential area and then try to name solutions in the future development of commercial activities and the accompanying changes in the surrounding areas. The articles of the study examine the theories of planning that talk about the role of the streets in linking the urban fabric of the city together, in addition to the factors that control and determine the commercial areas and city centers and neighborhoods. The study also tackles the requirements of the business activities and their relationship to residential areas and the readiness of those areas and roads to accommodate dense commercial activities which was not originally planned for that purpose. The study is based on secondary information available from diverse sources. In order to fill the shortfall in these secondary data, necessary information has been collected from primary sources, through conducting field research and interviews with some officials and record some observations and taking pictures of the current status of the study area. It has already been noticed that there is a lot of negative impacts associated with the conversion of streets to commercial uses, including loss of privacy and accessibility of the region by strangers due to increased attractiveness for residence notably for workers and tenants of commercial stores, leading to high population density in the area which in turn led X to increased pressure on existing services which were originally designed to serve a limited number of residents e.g. water, electricity and sanitation (if applicable) and other social services, especially in third-class areas, which already suffer from severe lack and insufficiency of those services. We also find the negative environmental impacts such as generation of dust and noise resulting from intensive traffic on that street after the conversion, whether due to public transport vehicles or private ones that crosses the area. The study targeted the status of Al Thawra Al Nus Street in Al Mahdia city as a case study because the significant impact of the commercial activity on that region which was originally planned and designed as a third class buildings residential area. The study analyzed the components of the street and its surroundings particularly the residential areas around it which are affected by its shift to become a commercial street in terms of traffic density and the increase in commercial activities and services around it. Moreover the study analyzed the activities of the commercial and service centers attached to each "Hara" (quarters) of Al Mahdia area originally establish to serve those residential areas and tackled the causes of their low standard and shed the light on the factors that caused the decline of the commercial activity in those centers and shifted commercial activities from them to Al Thawra Al Nus Street. The study reviews the regulations governing the operation of the commercial streets, which are supposed to regulate and organize the conversion process and reduce the negative impacts of those streets on residential areas surrounding them. On the other hand, the study analyzed the positive impacts of those streets and the demand for them to catch up with the rapidly changing modern life and the growing needs of the population to have shopping areas that are nearby and cheap. Lastly, the study conclude by identifying and describing all of the problems that occurred due to the conversion or due to calling some of the streets and roads in the residential areas as Commercial streets and the expected impact of these commercial streets on the areas around them. Hence the study listed proposals and recommendations that could assist in solving the investigated problems and reviewed their outcome in order to rectify the current problems and draft it in the form of regulations and scientific principles. The most important recommendations that resulted from the study was recommendations related to planning and designing such as; collect the most recent information about the street intended to be transformed into a commercial street in order to accommodate the commercial activity adequately, reactivating the role of Al Harat commercial centers and integrate their role with the commercial street role, re-planning and re-design of the street width and the setback in front of buildings, provision of adequate parking for cars and prescribe parking lots in the design of buildings under construction and determine the location of these parking along the street, the need for paving the street in full to protect the environment and avoid dust provoking, improve the level of existing services, and improve the administrative and legal regulations such as placing new regulations that restrict and prevent violation of the street sidewalk, and unify the body responsible for the study of commercial streets and the body that take decisions and implement them paying attention to the follow-up and funding of such to work in an integrated method. All the above mentioned recommendations help in the success and continuity of the commercial streets experience.
URI: http://khartoumspace.uofk.edu/handle/123456789/10385
Date: 2015-05-07


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