Salem Al Mubarak Street Transformation Project

Post by Mark

Some of you might have already heard about this but for those of you who haven’t, a proposal was put forward to transform Salem Al Mubarak street in old Salmiya (where I live basically) to a pedestrian only street with brand new futuristic looking buildings.

As someone who’s lived on this very street for 30+ years, and as someone who truly loves and experiences this street every single day, I can with full confidence say… none of this is ever gonna materialize.

There is a higher chance that Kuwait will beat UAE to building the first city on Mars, than there is for old Salmiya to transform into this wonderland.

I’m not being pessimistic, I’m just being realistic.

The street is in shambles and the municipality doesn’t care, nobody cares and these renderings to me are a joke, they’re making a mockery of the current situation. It’s like some rich kid passing through some poor village in Africa and decides to stop to take a selfie with some street kids pretending to be helping them out for his instagram account before driving off in his convoy to a luxury resort.

It’s insulting.

There is no way on earth the transformation project will ever happen without demolishing the whole area, kicking out all the low income expats and then rebuilding the street from the ground up, the main street AND all the back streets as well. The metro project? That’s gonna happen. The railway project? That’s gonna happen. Kuwait building a city on Mars? That’s gonna happen. But this Salmiya project, it’s never gonna happen.

If you want to see more renderings on this concept as well as get more information, check out this thread I started on [SkyScraperCity]


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42 comments, add your own...


  1. This is the latest habba in Kuwait.

    “It’s like some rich kid passing through some poor village in Africa and decides to stop to take a selfie with some street kids pretending to be helping them out for his instagram account before driving off in his convoy to a luxury resort.”

    Spot on Mark.

  2. Buzz says:

    This project is highly unlikely due to bureaucracy alone. The government would either need the full cooperation of the property owners or it would have to buy the properties from them and go it alone. I don’t see either happening. BTW, whatever happened to the huge, futuristic mall that was supposed to be built where the Family Bookstore used to be?

  3. Kliffy77 says:

    The project is happening and there is a strong will to proceed with it soon, Many buildings will be retrofitted from the outside not demolished, Many mega projects are underway.

    • Mark says:

      This requires a lot more than retrofitting buildings from the outside. The area is currently a low income poor neighborhood, you can’t transform it just by applying a fake facade.

      • Unfortunately, that’s what gentrification is.

        • gijo says:

          That isn’t gentrification.

          Gentrification:

          Poor neighbourhood>Low rent>Students/Artists move in (real artists who can’t afford high rents. not the pseudo-artists with the spray cans in the boot of their bentley)>creative buzz in the area>cafes/bars/galleries open to cater to the former>more people visit these new establishments>gradually cafes/bars/galleries become more upscale>upscale restaurants/concept stores/upscale retail open>rents go up>Poor Students/artists no longer able to afford rents and move out(repeating the process in other poor neighbourhoods)>rich people (the gentry)move in>Gentrified

          I don’t see this happening organically in Kuwait since some critical elements are missing here.

          At any rate the monstrosity depicted in the pictures is not it!

          • You’re right gijo, that’s what usually, key word being usually, happens.

            But.

            You do realize that the definition of gentrification is (quoting from a dictionary here) “a process of renovation and revival of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by means of influx of more affluent residents, which results in increased property values and the displacing of lower-income families and small businesses.”

            In the end, it is gentrification gijo.

            Whether or not annoying pseudo Liberal white artists are involved doesn’t negate the fact that its gentrification.

          • I’m going to give you a good example of gentrification – Jaffa, the city where my grandparents were born and brought up in.

            Jaffa has undergone gentrification in recent years due to the fact that rich Israeli yuppies decided to take over the city forcing poor Palestinian tenants, who’ve lived in Jaffa for over a hundred years, out.

            There were no artists involved. It’s still gentrification.

            You can read all about it here.
            http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/business/1.734035

            • gijo says:

              I do see your point and I agree with you about the consequences of such transformations.

              But in my opinion, for an urban transformation to be classified as gentrification, it needs to meet the following criteria:

              1. The process should be a gradual, bottom-up evolution. Not a Top-Down decision to raze and build again or even retrofit as a whole.

              2. The resulting urban fabric retains most of the characteristics (hopefully the good ones) of the old neighborhood that attracted the people in the first place. Not a completely new identity.

              A good example of gentrification is the meatpacking district in NY, where the ‘High Line’park over abandoned railway tracks became a catalyst for rapid gentrification for the surroundings. (im not sure i agree with how it became an overcrowded tourist attraction though)

              Sorry for the rant but I am glad urban issues are brought up and discussed on this site :)

              • Great points you listed but I’d just like to add three things.

                1.Brooklyn is the new meatpacking district

                2. Jaffa still retains its old world charm.

                3. Important topics are always discussed on here.

                Nice to meet you, Gijo.

      • It’s happening all over the world at a very rapid pace.

      • Kliffy77 says:

        Wait and see, But I guess it’s your nature to say something negative about Kuwait or its ability to carry out projects.

  4. Fahed Al Hindi says:

    i could see the anger and frustration in the last paragraph… lets hope they do turn Salem Mubarak into this dream place….

  5. Been a while but i’ve been writing about Salem Al Mubarak street and what I think needs to happen. https://rekuwait.wordpress.com/sam-street/

    I think it’s entirely feasible to convert the street into pedestrian only and figuring out a workable way to divert traffic. That alone will trigger an organic demand for interesting things to happen in the existing buildings. The project doesn’t need massive investment or any change to the existing buildings. Make it pedestrian, clean and safe. That’s all that needs to happen.

    • Mark says:

      Hey, yeah I actually linked to your post recently
      http://248am.com/mark/personal/car-free-days/

      I don’t think making SAM street pedestrian only is difficult. Shutting down my street won’t cause much of an issue because of the fact currently it just leads to a few parking spots and thats about it.

      But that’s not what they’re proposing, they’re proposing a complete makeover of the street/area. They want to turn it into something like downtown beirut which I hate since it’s completely soulless. The thing with downtown beirut, it was basically brought down to the ground and rebuilt from scratch, all the previous owners and occupants were forced out and the only way they’re gonna turn Salmiya into their vision is by doing the same thing. They’re going to have to bring down the neighborhood, starting from ground up and kicking out all the current tenants.

      They’re gonna turn this poor neighborhood into a fancy one.

      You’re not gonna be able to have the Salmiya they’re envisioning with the kind of backstreets and over populated and in some cases illegally constructed low income high rise residential apartments like the ones scattered all around my neighborhood.

      • Mark says:

        your proposals for example on your website are all much more realistic and are ideas the involve the current structure of the neighborhood.

      • Marcus says:

        I’ve noticed that you want change but not when it negatively effects you directly. This is a great proposal that can fit right into the plan of making Arabian Gulf Road and all areas adjacent to it more touristic. There are many apartments all over Salmiya. What’s the big deal if tenants move to another area to accommodate this project?

        • Mark says:

          If that’s all you got from my post then you completely misunderstood it.

          The issue isn’t with change which I want and have been asking for since I started blogging. The issue is their proposal is a ridiculous dream, so over the top that they’ve killed any chance of it actually happening.

          I’m looking for a change that can happen.

  6. MTA says:

    SAM street can sure use more cleaning and beautification, but I kinda like how it is currently. There is a certain charm in it’s old & rustic facade, which I absolutely enjoy during my walks. I for one, wish this proposal never happens. It’s suffocating to be surrounded with modern, high rise architectures!

  7. bojaij says:

    Hey Mark check this out

    https://youtu.be/To9DXDzTCRU

    I think it deserves a post

  8. meh says:

    No save shitty old nostalgic piece of crap building campaign?

  9. Max says:

    I used to live there as well! 17 years ago right above cbk before the building got demolished and it still didn’t finish… I missed that place. But yeah I don’t think it’ll happen buddy! XD

  10. aziz says:

    totally agree, this project is a joke and it will never get done . the municipality had never done something that looks beautiful.

  11. zaydoun says:

    AND… they claim it’ll be done by end of 2018!!!

  12. DeViL says:

    Adding to your Railways list …

    Metro Project
    GPON by Feb 2017
    New Airport Terminal

  13. Ahmad says:

    They should close it and force the building owners to follow a certain classic facade. This will be more reasonable than demolishing all the buildings.


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