Users’ Preferences for Designing Spaces under Urban Bridges as Vital Urban Spaces

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Abstract

Today’s fast-paced urbanization process has caused many problems in urban development. Therefore, urban space is slowly losing its nature and disappearing due to the speed of rapid urban development. Trying to keep up with the modern era’s prevalent epoch of roads and bridges, urban policies in Iran have focused on developing road networks in recent years. Thus numerous elevated structures, urban highways and bridges are used to connect the urban fabric of the country’s cities, enabling the smooth transition of traffic in its cities. Although many view urban highways merely as tools for mobility; it is true that they influence on urban structure and the communities that they interconnect. However, the majority of Iranian cities already have many highways and bridges, they still continue to construct new highways and bridges in order to solve their traffic problems. Yet the construction of urban highways, both in and around cities has resulted in the formation of huge masses of leftover spaces which can rarely be incorporated in formal urban planning and design. Authorities and architects rarely care about the leftover spaces beneath bridges and highways. Although they are paid attention at an international level, on a national level in Iran, the leftover spaces under elevated urban constructions and bridges and their effects have often been neglected. This research focuses on the qualitative evaluation of urban spaces, analyzes the notion of “lost and leftover spaces,” while trying to come up with a new perspective to view urban spaces and urban development in today’s world. How we can make the most of modifying or recycling “leftover spaces” is another issue that this research is concerned with. However, the main objective of this research is to obtain design qualities in Iranian urban spaces which fulfill the needs of citizens. This research is qualitative, based on a theoretical framework in the field of urban design, analyzing lost spaces under highways and bridges; also taking into account people’s environmental preferences obtained in a case study. Interviews and the classification of visual information as Q- sort Technique were used in the second part of this study to extract participants’ individual preferences. The study participants consisted of 50 people aged 15- 60 who live or work near highways in either Tehran or Mashhad due to the maximum variance of sampling up to data saturation. Extensive interviews were conducted starting with the simple question “How you would like to use spaces under bridges?” moving on to focus on the needs of the local people. Most interviews were 20 to 35 minutes—on average 25 minutes. “Content analysis” method was used to write down and evaluate the research data in order to extract the most important findings and trends of the research. After this, Visual Quality Assessment Method (Q-Sort) was used to confirm the results of the comprehensive interviews. In order to do this, five sets of photographs on A4 pages were shown to participants. Each one of these pages depicted different aspects of designed spaces which would help to identify people’s expectations of desirable spaces under bridges. In order to determine individual preferences regarding to the spaces below the bridges as an urban space, the obtained data was divided into two categories: criteria of desirability and utility criteria of space. The next step was to conduct content analysis in order to design an analytical framework developed based on Residents’ preferences, which could be applied to case studies and validate a set of inf
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Number of pages11
JournalARMAN/SHAHR
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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