Sherine Shafik Aly
In a world increasingly concerned with the problems of a deteriorating environment, including pollution, global climate change, vanishing plant and animal species, reliance on fossil fuels, and the inappropriate development of natural and productive landscapes, there is a marked tendency to bypass the urban environment. When seen in the context of the impact of humans on world ecosystems, it is clear that the links between cities, nature, and sustainability have profound impacts on the global environment. Urban open spaces are focal points in urban design and an important part of the fabric of any community. They serve as the public realm and environment for the surrounding buildings. They also provide a range of tangible benefits, such as mitigating air and water pollution, combating suburban sprawl, providing opportunities for recreation, reducing crime and fostering cohesive neighborhoods, attracting businesses, and stabilizing property values. As part of a broader urban agenda, investing in open space can serve as an anchor for revitalizing neighborhoods and building healthy communities. So a well-designed urban open spaces are the heart of the matter. The degree the neighborhood is sustainable depends on its urban design. A good urban design is the key for any balanced and sustainable development. To achieve the previously mentioned objectives, the paper deals with the definition, the importance, the physical characteristics and the types of urban open spaces. These spaces are carefully designed and developed to fulfill the physical, social, psychological, cultural and aesthetic needs of people. Then finally some recent international experiences are funded, documented and analyzed to achieve criteria for designing the urban open spaces. The paper recommends a number of guidelines for designing urban open spaces. It is concluded that urban open spaces design should take on increasing importance, with a distinct focus on quality over quantity. Sustainability implies dramatic changes in the way people currently plan, design and construct their communities. The sustainability process is about creativity and change. This paper represents a contribution to this dynamic process. Key words: urban open spaces, sustainability, urban environment, quality of life.