Assessing Design Principles of Urban Parks in Iran for Promoting Women’s Satisfaction

Mehraneh Rayatidamavandi, Mohsen Faizi, Farhang Mozaffar, Brian Michael Swank

Abstract


Parks, as one of the most important urban spaces, play an important role in promoting quality of life and community development. Research on urban public spaces has been growing but pays almost no attention to gender differences in the use of these spaces. Although the quality of park design and inclusion of nature nearby urban areas has been established by many scholars as necessary for human physical and psychological health, park design in Iranian cities remains subjective. Studies show that this ever-increasing inattention to the varied preferences of stakeholders has resulted in a decrease in park quality and a diminished sense of ownership that in turn has exacerbated existing social and infrastructural problems. Many studies indicate that in the past, public spaces were occupied mostly by men, and women’s activities were allocated to home environment and private spaces. Despite the fundamental changes in gender roles in past 50 years, men and women occupy different social and physical spaces in urban areas, yet this problem exists currently in many countries. It is also argued that urban analysis and theorizing have focused almost exclusively on men and masculinity. After all, the success or failure of urban planning in creating or remodeling public space should be assessed by measuring both the number of male and female users. There is little effort to investigate the design guidelines of a desirable park for women. Women are one of the deprived stratums of community in urban contexts in Iran. The primary purpose of this gender-based study with a quantitative-analytical approach is to identify design guidelines to enhance women’s satisfaction and accordingly their presence. Data collected from scholarly resources and surveys in Saee Park, one of the largest and most important urban parks located in central part of Tehran, was analyzed by SPSS and the factor analysis technique. Results indicate that amongst 13 factors, categorized in three groups including participatory design, design with nature and legibility-accessibility, it was found that participatory design is the most important factor of designing parks for women. This result reveals that, women should be involved in the first steps of design process. Accordingly, participation could promote their sense of belonging to conserve their spaces.


Keywords


urban parks; public space; women equality; Iran; design guidelines; satisfaction.  

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