Patterns of urban park use and their relationship to factors of quality: A case study of Tehran, Iran

Fariba Bahriny, Simon Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Urban parks play an important role in increasing the quality of urban life. Thus, a variety of approaches to planning and decision-making regarding sustainable open spaces and urban parks is needed, especially when models from one location are borrowed to another with a very different culture. In many developing countries cities are expanding without proper planning of public green spaces which places pressure on the quality of life. In common with many Middle Eastern cities, Tehran, the capital of Iran is a large sprawling metropolis which has experienced fast growth since 1970 and with little in the way of comprehensive planning of green spaces as an organised system. To date there has been no comprehensive investigation of urban parks regarding their level of use, range of activities, quality of maintenance, evidence of anti-social activities or the demographic character of their catchment—important information for effective park planning. In this study a representative sample of 16 parks in Tehran was studied using a combination of site assessments and user observations. We found that a combination of factors concerning the quality of the parks such as presence of facilities, existence of water and other special attractions, as well as how well-lit they are, how well maintained and safe they are, has a lot to do with their level of use. Some pleasant parks with good facilities are less well used because of, e.g., evidence of anti-social behaviour, poor maintenance and accessibility. A key aspect we found is the difference between male and female users, with some parks being much less-well-used by women. Much more attention is needed for planning and management of parks in Tehran. The approach applied here has potential to help other cities in similar areas to learn more about their green space systems for planning purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages33
JournalSustainability
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • park planning
  • Tehran
  • site assessment
  • user observation

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