Empowering sociability potential of urban spaces : Kermanshah city, Iran

Amiriparyan, Peyman; Reicher, Christa (Thesis advisor); Neugebauer, Carola Silvia (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : RWTH Aachen University (2022, 2023)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, 2022


The word of Sociability was adapted from a phrase invented by Humphrey Osmond in 1957 when he was observing the effects of environmental change on the interactions of patients in a Canadian hospital in Saskatchewan. He identified two main systems for patterning space; the first called sociopetal space meaning the spaces bringing people together and provokes social interactions, while the second phrase was called sociofugal space, tending to keep people away from each other and suppress communication. Their researchprovides a scientific platform for those researching the human interaction in space, especially forurban designs, planners and architects. One of the relevant, comprehensive research was accomplished by Edward T. Hall in the book The Hidden Dimension, focusing on the role of human behavior in urban spaces. In this dissertation, the word "Sociability" is adapted from the phrase of sociopetal to explain the effect ofsocial spaces in improving the quality of social life. The case study of this dissertation is in Kermanshah cityin the west of Iran, a metropolis with a population of more than one million people. Empowering the sociability potential of urban spaces in Kermanshah city is a public demand, specifically inthe recent three decades after the Iran-Iraq war. It has been a social demand to revitalize social life sincethe 1990s, but the problem is an unbalanced socio-economic development in different urban districts andon a micro-scale in various neighborhoods in the city, meaning an unbalanced urban development in neighborhoods to shape integrated and segregated neighborhoods often in the adjacency of each other. Thisresearch aims to study the social nature of urban neighborhoods in Kermanshah through a mixed methodology to be able to have a quantitative and qualitative approach for a comparative study based on 136vicinities in the city. The methodology implemented in this dissertation is based on a qualitative, quantitative and practical-empiricalimplementation analysis. This methodology has a multidimensional approach to investigate two theoretical and practical aspects of the issue and to find the way of confirmation of the hypothesis and research questions. The first part of the research belongs to the theoretical aspects of the research or literature reviewand the second part is the practical and empirical aspects of the research. The novelty of the researchin Kermanshah makes the first challenge in the process of doing and proceeding of the research because in studying the literature review, the limitations on finding the related research with the same approach were the first obstacle as a background and foreground to steps ahead. The initial findings in the literature review indicated that among all methods to study urban spaces. The Space Syntax has made a platform toanalyze the socio-economic potentials of urban spaces in a quantitative method via an applied softwarecalled Depthmap.In the first part of the practical method, I concentrated on the city expansion from the centrality organizationto bipolar organization, then the integration, connectivity, and depth analysis of the city in eight periodsfrom 1919 to 2015 comparatively. The results show the gradual changes of the city and especially the integrated core of the city in different periods and how the urban integration pattern has changed, and how theintegrated and segregated urban zones have formed and changed.In the second practical step of the dissertation, I began the analysis of three sociable urban spaces in Kermanshahresulting from a combination of integration analysis and field study, starting from urban layout, including free and restricted open spaces, land-use pattern, visual depth, and territorial boundary study inthree streets. Likewise, the productivity of sidewalks in three cases is analyzed and then the social movementof pedestrians was studied. As the last part of the research, to have a bottom-up approach to precisethe results, I used a questionnaire to involve public opinion about the role of three streets on improvingsocial indicators.The findings and comparing the results of the dissertation prove the hypothesis of this dissertation that there is a significant correlation between socio-economic processes and urban spaces. I believe the regeneration of socio-economic development in a balanced way needs to revitalize the urban grid to develop the continuation of the lost urban grid in the city to make the accessibility of the segregated urban zone andthen redefining the land-use pattern to enhance the homogeneity of urban function is necessary. The last chapter of the dissertation presents the findings, the research suggestions for policymakers, public and private sectors, the necessarily applied measurements and the suggestions for the following research are summarized. Keywords: Sociability potentials of urban spaces, urban configuration, urban grid, space syntax, depthmap,local and global integration, connectivity, mean depth, line length, choice, coefficient correlation, quantitativeand qualitative method, public space, natural movement, questionnaire, urban morphology, homogeneousand heterogeneous urban configuration, territorial boundary, the productivity of sidewalks, pedestrian calculation.


  • Chair of Urban Design and Institute for Urban Design and European Urbanism [212410]