Investigating Accessibility and Influencing Factors on Social Interactions in Urban Spaces (Case Study: Mellat Park in Mashhad)

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 Assistant Professor of the Education Department of Geography and Urban Planning, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.

2 PhD student in geography and urban planning at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.

3 Master student of geography and urban planning at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.

Abstract

Accessibility is the key to high-impact social conditioning as well as the secret behind successful city spaces. For this purpose, this study endeavors to investigate the accessibility and social interactions of people in Mellat Park of Mashhad city (as the most important park with an urban function). The descriptive-analytical study and its variables include: the spatial location of the elements of the park and the degree of the correspondence of public traffic. The mass of the sample with regard to the number of visitors and the type of statistical tests, was determined to be 200 people. After conducting documentary-based research and composing the conceptual model of the research, all elements located within the park (including 920 locations), were extracted using a GPS device and were saved in the location database. Three models were utilized as a means to analyze the data, including: 1) classic statistics (quantitative and experimental tables), 2) spatial positioning and its criteria (connection, choice, interconnection, width, and depth), and 3) structural equations. The results indicate that, from the perspective of accessibility, Mellat Park is functionally diverse. On the other hand, the estimation of the spatial positioning criteria demonstrates that a part of the park is not placed within the walking area of visitors. In addition, the results of the survey also indicate that people are unaware of the locations of some important elements. The findings of this study concerning the patterns of people’s interactions indicated that, in spite of the relatively proper interaction of the people with each other, these interactions were not deep and only included short chats. Also, the results of the structural equations demonstrated that, among the locations within the park, the Martyrs’ grave, the coffee shop, the sports equipment, the lake, and the green area play the biggest role in initiating social interactions. Deductions based on the findings of this study indicate that, the three subjects of functional diversity, spatial positioning, and the value of the elements within the space can be considered as major factors for the realization of widespread social interactions within the background of urban areas.

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