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Title: Social sustainability and public life in Iranian Squares : the case of Naghshe Jahan Square
Author: Zand Vosoughi, Noushin
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 223X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2014
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Iranian town squares have always been places where people were able to engage in social interaction, cultural exchange, economic activities and political events. These programmes were shared by different socio-economic and cultural groups. This study focuses on the potential role of Iranian town squares in public life and their place in social sustainability. The history of Iranian cities amply demonstrates that their squares have been very useful in improving the quality of life of the citizens and have played an important part in publicising the special identity of the towns. At the present moment, some of them are still thriving and useable and they are among the most significant factors making their cities sustainable. In addition, they improve the quality of municipal life by providing dedicated spaces for contact and socializing. This study offers a new understanding of Iranian squares based on how they have developed, how they have been used and how they affect people's lives. In this regard, Naghsh-e-Jahan Square was chosen as a case study to provide a detailed analysis of the phenomenon. Naghsh-e-Jahan Square is located in Isfahan city, one of the largest in Iran. The researcher, who is an architect and interested in this subject, explored this square in detail. As she comes from an Architecture background so she can probably design better public spaces. The fact that she is not a native of Isfahan was somewhat of a disadvantage for the case study; she was, for instance, unable to enter the square to attend various religious, political and other annual events. Furthermore, the researcher had difficulty in finding different groups for interviews because her stay in Isfahan was short. The researcher's point of view as an architect has been taken into consideration in this study, especially with regard to the walking strategies approach. Moreover, the researcher tried to suppress her opinions during the interviews and drawing exercises. Another point is that this research could have benefited from exploring town squares in other countries across the world. For instance, this might usefully apply to some Middle Eastern states, especially Iran's neighbours. This study shows how Naghsh-e-Jahan Square as a case study has been successful in addressing changes in society by adapting to people's needs over the centuries. Another aspect of this study concerns the lessons that can be learnt from Naghsh-e-Jahan Square. These can help urban planners by providing information to assist them in developing and designing new public urban spaces and especially town squares in Iran. In addition, the results of this study can be applied to the traditional town squares that have not been as successful as Naghsh-e-Jahan Square.
Supervisor: Cristina, Cerulli ; Doina, Petrescu Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available