Volume 5, Issue 1 (2015)                   Naqshejahan 2015, 5(1): 5-16 | Back to browse issues page

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ansari M, pilechiha P, heidarizadi E. The Role of Traffic in Social Life in Outdoor Residential Spaces. Naqshejahan 2015; 5 (1) :5-16
URL: http://bsnt.modares.ac.ir/article-2-10963-en.html
Abstract:   (9449 Views)
A broad definition of social life describes activities that require the presents of other individuals in a public sector; such as children playing; running into your neighbors; all kinds of local activities and most commonly passive interactions in which citizens see each other and listen to what they say. Social activities don’t just happen by themselves, as other people need be in the same place, meet each other, pass by or just happen to be in sight of one’s presence in a physical state. Environmental improvements significantly increase the selective interaction rates and accordingly the amount of social activities between people. Public space quality improvements, affects the daily/social interactions of the citizens, and this effect can be witnessed in pedestrian routs or home zone more than anywhere else. Most of our urban routs, from main roads to the local streets and alleys have turned into geometricallyaligned carriageways, all designed under one general structure (two sidewalks on each side and the roadway in the middle); without noticing that every urban space requires to meet a series of expectations being delivered through its urban functionality. Currently urban shapes only reflect the structural arrangements for vehicular accessibility, thus diminishing other aspects of human needs. Therefore social life has become territorial and resident activity has opted to leave the streets and other public spaces and focus more on the inside of homes and private courtyards. The significance of this issue as a historical process lies down within consideration of social life in streets and public spaces, and how their configuration reflects the values and excellence of our society. It seems as if it would be needed to avoid through traffic and crossing traffic to achieve traffic calming measures in residential streets. Also design practices for destination routs should be configured in a way so that access to collector roads becomes as short as possible. In addition, not only current residential streets have become a transportation route for un-local vehicles, but have also become a parking lot for on-street parking due to low parking capacities throughout the city. Thus streets and alleys turn into parking courts resulting in significant loss of space due to vehicle sizes. This space however must be in service for the social requirements of residence, such as children’s playground and rest spots. Traffic management and pedestrian interaction is an important case, studied is various resources. Therefore looking at the backgrounds, an analytic model should be introduced to demonstrate the standards and paradigms that impact the relation between traffic and social life. This model states the effect of four major components being: road hierarchies, parking, traffic management and pedestrian interaction, on the relation between social life in residential layouts and the vehicular traffic. The hierarchal parameter is to define the amount of through traffic and the parking parameter defines the number of vehicles estimated on plot by arranging end and on-site parking space. According to this model, each aspect in traffic management and pedestrian interaction is also assessed by two parameters. The parameters that help evaluate traffic management are Speed and Traffic volume. The pedestrian interaction aspect is evaluable by walk way and narrowing the optical width for drivers. The purpose of this research is to analyze the impact of open-space traffic in residential layouts on social activity levels in those areas. Since records show that the design quality of residential layouts and the satisfaction of the residence is linked to the conditions of the open spaces between the blocks in residential layouts, in this research vehicular traffic has been described as one of the effective factors on environmental standards, which can affect life quality and residence satisfaction. Thus, the main question being “How does traffic affect the social lives of the residence?” In this study the effects of vehicular traffic on the quality and level of social activities in two similar neighborhoods in the same district of Mehregan in Qazvin were evaluate using a survey research method, in which the data is collected through survey questionnaires and analyzed by the Chi-square parametric test. Using this analytic model, the social life should be ratable through aspects such as road hierarchies, parking, traffic management and pedestrian interaction. Each one of these four aspects has been explained through other paradigms. The survey method was used to examine the outcome hypothesis from this analytic model. The samples were selected out of Mehregan urban county in Qazvin. Containing 9neighborhoods, this county was designed and built neighborhood-friendly. Since this complex was designed, built and operated during a close period of time, and planned equally under both social and urban parameters, therefore had the potential to avoid the effect of unwanted variables in the study. Two sites in two different neighborhoods were selected for study, both being statistically very close in terms of number of residence and size. To evaluate each of these subject aspects, multiple questions were set in a filtering style, so that the outcomes of each aspect would quantify the perception of social life in that aspect. In the frequency table, the social life levels have been described as “not at all, low, average, high and very high”. Face validity was applied to weighting the factors, meanwhile multiple distribution of factors due to various reasons, were managed to be avoided. Therefore even and simple distribution of elements has been considered. Results show that meeting social life under the aspect of traffic management in both of the selected samples has a meaningful difference with each other. Those residence who had more activities, had considered the traffic calming and traffic volume of their residency more than other respondents. In the first neighborhood unit, vehicular travel speeds were lower due to various utilized traffic management tools while pedestrian features were considered at higher priority. However the define of social life would be meaningless in both narrowing the vehicular readability and supplying surroundings parking. Results also show that the more through traffic is reduced on site by achieving road hierarchies, the more social activities grow. In the selected neighboring units, the impact of designing local parking lot in both residential complexes seemed to have no significant difference on people’s social life. Since parking for residence in both locations was provided outside, the respondents evaluated the site structure of their residency in terms of the effectiveness of narrowed driving optical width and provision of local parking, as “average”. Therefore the impact of these aspects on social life cannot be measured. What can be concluded overall is that the road hierarchy and traffic management emphasizes on creating potentials for efficient and effective activity in the site. According to results, the level of environmental response in traffic management, in both selected locations demonstrated a meaningful difference. Since residence of the first neighboring unit, had evaluated the traffic calming and traffic volume of their residency better than the other respondents, having considered pedestrian features at higher priority, it could be said that reducing traffic volume and speed by the implementation of traffic management tools and also turning all of negative spaces to pedestrian spaces in the layout, affects and promotes social life. It can be stated overall that traffic management reflects a great impact on social life. However being said that narrowing the optical driving width makes no significant difference in improving social life, thus no comment could be provided on its effects.
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Received: 2015/10/13 | Accepted: 2015/03/21 | Published: 2015/10/13

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