Roja Gholamhosseini was awarded her PhD in urban planning. Congratulations Dr Gholamhosseini!
The thesis examined the role of public space in the lives of Middle Eastern women migrants in Australia. Her advisors were Dr Dorina Pojani and Dr Derlie Mateo-Babiano.
International migrants must undergo a difficult process of acculturation, during which new attachments are formed to a new place. For Middle Eastern migrants to Australia, this process is compounded by Islamophobia, which is on the rise, with many incidents occurring in public spaces and targeting women. Through in-depth interviews, this article examines how this situation affects women migrants from the Middle East, especially Muslim ones, in Brisbane. The study is concerned with “subjective” perceptions and experiences in and of public space rather than “objective” public space as conceived by urban planners. The authors find that Middle Eastern women migrants have a different perspective on public space compared to local Australian populations, and this difference stems from their cultural, political, and religious backgrounds. The findings of this study can help cities create inclusive and culturally-sensitive public spaces, which catalyse a “sense of belonging” and a “sense of place” among migrants, and thus sustain multi-culturalism, social harmony, and community bonds.