Urban neighbourhoods of Tehran : the social relations of residents and their 'living place'
The city in the contemporary context, is witnessed as the place of many socio-spatial differentations. These are greatly manifested in its urban neighbourhoods. The better-quality urban neighbourhoods are more desirable for existing diverse potentials of social advantages and the poorer-quality urban neighbourhoods can no longer provide a considerable integration between inhabitants and the environment of their 'living place', because of poor housing conditions and the lack of local services needed. Many cities in the world are experiencing such situations. Tehran, as the capital of Iran and one of the largest cities in the Middle East is the typical example in this context. To explore its neighbourhood areas and the relationships between people and the environment of these areas, it is assumed to be a vital task to look at the important dimensions of neighbourhoods and their environment. In terms of local public services and social networks, the relation between residents and the environment of their 'living place' is indicated as the central focus of this study. The aim was to contribute to the goal of expanding choice and opportunity with special responsibility for the needs of residents as groups and as individuals. The identification of this issue in the city of Tehran has been undertaken as a contribution to bridging the existing gap between planning for this city and the reality of the urban environment of its `living places'. From this investigation and the exploration of the explained problems, it is anticipated that this study and its findings will facilitate attempts to investigate and to manage the local conditions of areas such as these A variety of research methods and tools were used. Interviewing local informants, structured observations; analysis of available documents; and a household survey of a representative sample of residents in each of the two selected neighbourhoods in Tehran. Overall, it has been found that residents in both advantaged and disadvantaged residential areas in Tehran used, interpreted, and evaluated their environment of THE residential areas through the filter of their socio-economic reference system. Their attitudes in this case were based on four socio-economic dimensions: the pattern of the dwelling, educational achievements, financial status and jobs. In addition, overall satisfaction with the environment of neighbourhoods was the result of congruence in major components such as: the affordably a suitable housing, the accessibility to public services and the formal and informal social support system in terms of local social networks. From the survey findings it was also evident how small a role social bonding played in advantaged neighbourhoods as a determinant of residential mobility while this notion has been very important to residents in disadvantaged areas. From this point of view it is concluded that social ties and their location were independent of the inclination to move to another neighbourhood in advantaged areas. But, they were related to the level of residential mobility in an area in the sense that the more stable the area, the more likely a household is to establish ties in a neighbourhood, but the existence or absence of such ties does not affect the households' desire to remain or move.