Generic principles of neighbourhood design, with particular reference to Tehran
The main aim of this research is to develop a list of principles relevant to the design of neighbourhoods and in particular neighbourhood centres in Tehran. The study embodies two main phases, a literature review and a survey. During the literature review various dimensions of a neighbourhood centre are explored among both 'prescriptive' and 'explanatory' theories in architecture and urban design. Attempts are made to extract the essence and concepts of individual projects among the prescriptive resources, while the investigations of explanatory resources are focused on finding concepts and ideas which are applicable to design. The characteristics of neighbourhood centres are then classified into three categories called functional, perceptual and operational. These categories embody different sections which are separately studied among the literature and design principles are derived out of the writings and presented at the end of each section. Finally, a provisional list of principles is developed as the result of the literature review. The survey is designed to examine the above principles in the real world in two contrasting neighbourhood centres in Tehran. Face-to-face interviews with the residents of the neighbourhoods, together with the observation of cases, comprise the research instruments. The interviews are based on qualitative open-ended questions in order to find out the characteristics of the centres which the residents mostly appreciated or disliked. A checklist is formulated to explore design factors out of the survey responses. The design principles resulting from the survey are then compared with the initial list. The outcome of the research is the final list of generic principles which draws together the results of the literature investigation and the survey. These principles are primarily aimed at those directly engaged in the design of neighbourhood centres such as architects and urban designers. It also includes information for the management body of the centres. For the ease of users the principles are classified into ten sections under the three main categories mentioned above. Along with the above results, there are some secondary findings about the respondents' differences in perception and evaluation of their neighbourhood centre which are presented in the concluding chapter of the thesis. The study intends to decrease the gap between theoretical research and practical work by presenting design principles, extracted from the conceptual theories, that can be easily used by designers. Based on both theoretical and empirical approaches, it also helps to draw attention to the importance of neighbourhood centres in enhancing the quality of day-to-day lives of the city inhabitants.