Evaluation and Analysis of Urban Vitality Criteria Preferences Case Study: Valiasr St., Tehran

Document Type : Article extracted From phd dissertation


1 PhD student in Geography and Urban Planning, Mohaghegh Ardabili University, Ardabil, Iran

2 Professor of Geography and Urban Planning, Mohaghegh Ardabili University, Ardabil, Iran

3 Associate Professor of Geography and Urban Planning, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran

4 PhD in Geography and Urban Planning, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Extended Abstract
These days, Urban streets are facing with many challenges and issues that have diverted them from their social functions and made them a mere place to pass. Attention to the concept of urban vitality and its related components, is one of the solutions that can help urban streets to overcome the existing challenges. Vitality is the quality of life; But in a way that is perceived and experienced by people in space. According to this key definition, one way to engage citizens to create lively public spaces is evaluation of their perceptions and preferences that are effective criteria on the urban vitality, which has been considered in the present research by studying three scenes from Valiasr Street in Tehran. Valiasr Street, as the longest street in Tehran, connects the north and south of the geography, as well as the north and south floors of the city. For this reason, it has multiple identities that make it suitable for such studies.
In this study, the combined research method was used based on the "sequential explanation" scheme, and three groups of citizens related to Valiasr Street, including "passing users", "informed citizens" and "shopkeepers" were selected for sampling. The sample size of the first to third groups was determined to be 180 people (60 people from each sequence), 15 people and 10 people, and the sampling was implemented based on "available random" and "targeted" methods. Also, data collection was performed by using of a questionnaire, field observation and semi-structured interview forms. Questions of the questionnaire form were obtained based on the criteria collected from the theoretical literature of vitality in the form of seven key components and 65 questions. The main components included learning, socialization, comfort, security, usability, accessibility, and sense of place. A number of open-ended questions were also asked of the respondents in each of the seven components as qualitative complementary questions, in line with the questionnaire ones. The main theme of all the questions was to evaluate the preferences of the citizens regarding each of the factors affecting the vitality of Valiasr Street.
Results and discussion
As results indicated, in the view point of Valiasr Street users, the most important variables affecting the vitality of it, are often non-physical ones that the presence of women in the street space, the possibility of walking, the priority of pedestrian, diversity in clothing and behavior and finally existence of security have more considerable than other criteria. Then, for each of the seven components of vitality, a conceptual pattern was identified. These conceptual patterns mean that users of Valiasr Street prefer certain elements of vitality to improve the quality of space on this street, which is consistent with the lifestyle, norms, culture and social structure of Tehran and thus they determine how citizens use the public spaces of it. These characteristics include: youthfulness, individualism, support for women's presence, support for "homogeneous" spaces  (socially homogeneous) but "diverse" (in terms of type of activity), lack of connection with strangers, lack of Tolerance of different social groups such as minorities, the importance of mixed business land uses, great attention to social and psychological security, the importance of accessibility of pedestrian, attention to the pleasure of space and nostalgia and finally connection with the past. Another part of the findings of the study showed that the spatial differences between the northern and southern parts of Valiasr Street can be explained in relation to the socio-economic base of different classes. In fact, the spatial differences resulting from the social and economic base of different classes of people affect their preferences from the criteria of the vitality of Valiasr Street.
The result of the research was that vitality is the outcome of a complex interaction between economic, social, cultural, environmental, sensory and psychological factors and structures. Therefore, reducing the level of vitality to merely physical and environmental design factors, as is common in many domestic studies, not only counteracts planning to improve the quality of public spaces, but also promotes the same kind of planning, regardless of sociological characteristics., norms and patterns of behavior of different urban communities. Finally, considering all the findings and consequences of the study, it can be acknowledged that the process of planning for public spaces with a vitality approach, in a multi-class city such as Tehran, will only achieve the desired result if it considers two basic conditions: The first is to pay attention to the macro-social, political and cultural structures, and the second is to regard to the interests and preferences of all stakeholders and actors in public spaces.


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