A study of social-cultural aspects of housing: the case of modern high-rise residential buildings in Tehran

Noori, Susan Alemzadeh (2010) A study of social-cultural aspects of housing: the case of modern high-rise residential buildings in Tehran. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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Abstract

High - rise and apartment housing, with a history of less than five decades, has become the predominant type of housing in Iran. Architecturally and socially different to traditional Iranian houses, modern apartments accommodate a distinct form of culturally defined patterns of privacy and social interaction. The concept of privacy in the Iranian - Islamic context is a multi-dimensional phenomenon and its physical manifestation is structured by two interrelated ethical and visual aspects of Mahramiyat and Hejab. The interpretation of traditional cultural patterns and their implementation in the physical setting of the modem apartment have undergone transformation in the last few decades due to a number of political, economic and social factors but most importantly under the influence of the comprehensive modernisation of the country.

The study investigates the significance of traditional socio-cultural living patterns in the design of modem apartments. A historical and theoretical investigation into the causes of the housing problem and emergence and prevalence of high-rise and apartment housing in both developed and the developing countries relates the problem to a) the process of urbanisation and its interrelated demographic, economic and social factors, and b) modem architecture and the notion of environmental determinism. The environment - behaviour studies indicate a two way relationship between people's behaviour and their physical environment. This relationship, with regards to privacy, takes different forms among people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds, in the context of traditional and modem Iranian housing.

To examine the study question, a case study approach was adopted to obtain empirical data from a high-rise housing complex in Tehran at two sequential stages. The quantitative stage included collection of factual and attitudinal information through questionnaires, observation, documentary data and personal experience, and was followed up by a qualitative stage of physical and behavioural mapping and semi-structured interviews in a number of apartments to which alteration were made. The study findings show a strong stance to public - private distinction and privacy among families but a relaxed attitude to gender integrated spaces within the apartment, especially by women. Examination of three criteria, the traditional principle of gender segregation, the influence of modernism and gender integration, and the general use of space in the converted apartments shows a general attitude to modern life-style and integrated open plan spaces. The pattern of unseen privacy, behavioural codes and women's clothing are the most prevalent pattern of privacy in Iranian families' social interactions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K100 Architecture
K400 Planning (Urban, Rural and Regional)
K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > School of Architecture and Design
UoA Collections > PhD Theses Collection
Depositing User: Mr Richard Birley
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2017 08:38
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2017 08:38
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4910

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