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The Role of the Saudi Arabian Mosque in Preserving Culture and Enhancing Community Connectedness

Globalization and modernization since the discovery of oil have greatly affected the built environment of the twenty-first century Saudi Arabian city. These changes span all aspects of life and impact the social structure of residential communities. The design of cities, towns, and the buildings within them has been influenced by greater exposure to non-Saudi building types that came as a result of greater affluence and globalization. This study addressed changes in the design of the congregational mosque in Saudi Arabia after the discovery of oil in the 1930s. It explored the role of the congregational mosque in the twenty-first century Saudi Arabia, and its influence on residents’ attachment to their neighborhoods and sense of community respective to design. Feelings of connectedness to the community at large and attachment to residential neighborhoods are essential for the wellbeing of residents. Identifying with a place plays an important role in helping people attach meaning to places and forming emotional connections to them. Cities with places where socialization between community members occurs can support strong attachment to place. Prior to the discover of oil in Saudi Arabia, the congregational mosque served as the main community gathering place. Much of the communal activity, both religious and social, occurred in the mosque. Following the discovery of oil and changes in building types, communities changed. To better understand the impact of the changes in the design and role of the mosque, a survey was sent to 3000 employees of the Royal Commission for Jubail with 325 completed responses received. In addition to surveys, interviews were conducted with eight mosque attendees and the Imam (the leader of the mosque) to further understand the phenomenon of the mosque as a communal place. A case study of the Farouq congregational mosque in Jubail Industrial city was conducted and analyzed using spatial syntax methodology. The study revealed six themes related to the research questions including: social interaction between residents of the local neighborhood, neighborhood attachment, the use of the current-day mosque, the mosque as a social gathering place, the mosque as a community influencer, and the mosque’s architecture. Findings indicated the presence of a small community formed around the congregational mosque. However, results showed a decrease in the use of the mosque as a community gathering place when compared to mosques prior to the discovery of oil. Survey results indicated an interest in the mosque as a place to gather for prayer, as well as activities other than prayer. Therefore, findings suggest more efforts should be made to utilize the mosque facility as a place to help strengthen the social relationships between residents. More connection among residents has the potential to promote a stronger sense of community and attachment to residential environments. / A Thesis submitted to the Department of Interior Architecture and Design in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science. / Spring Semester 2018. / March 21, 2018. / mosque, neighborhood community, residents' attachment, saudi arabia, sense of attachment, sense of community / Includes bibliographical references. / Lisa Waxman, Professor Directing Thesis; Jill Pable, Committee Member; Marlow Ransdell, Committee Member.
ContributorsAlfawaz, Amjad (author), Waxman, Lisa K. (professor directing thesis), Pable, Jill (committee member), Ransdell, Marlo E (committee member), Florida State University (degree granting institution), College of Fine Arts (degree granting college), Department of Interior Design (degree granting departmentdgg)
PublisherFlorida State University
Source SetsFlorida State University
LanguageEnglish, English
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeText, text, master thesis
Format1 online resource (139 pages), computer, application/pdf

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