عنوان مقاله [English]
On the one hand, planning strategies such as compact city design and urban intensification are claimed to positively affect levels of social sustainability within the city. On the other hand, the sense of safety and social interactions within the neighborhoods, are also important, affecting residents’ quality of life, community cohesion and sustainability. But there is no consensus on relation between density and social ties and contradictory claims are made about the impacts of higher density on the social life in residential environments. It is shown that the experience and perception of density by people, could be different at different densities and is not adequately expressed by either of density measures. Prior research has found that most of the negative associations of density were related to the perceptions of density and perceived density is correlated with social interactions and sense of safety in residential environments. The causal nature of this relationship, however, has not been established.
Furthermore, in some studies, the built form, layout, design and amount of mix of uses of a neighborhood, as well as socio-demographic variables, were found to have an important role in achieving social sustainability. A physical element such as gated element is also believed to have an influence on local community relationship networking and sense of safety. Therefore, One of the most common strategies that developers are using to create communities which provide residents with a more close-knit and safe place to live, is creating gated communities: residential areas with restricted access through some physical barrier such as a fence, wall, security guardhouse, or electronic gate.
Based on socio-ecological theory, this study highlights the importance of evaluation and perception derived from communal space as a motivator for social interactions and shows that the physical environment affects people’s thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about a local neighborhood through daily contacts and experience.
The aim of this study was to test the structural relationship between perceived density, social interaction and sense of safety in gated and non-gated communities. To address this, six neighborhoods of same net residential and population density with same socioeconomic status of residents and different layouts in Mashhad, were selected for detailed investigation. A total of 590 residents who were chosen randomly, completed 5point likert scale questionnaire, originated from the literature reviewed. Data analysis was done by applying SPSS-19 and Amos-23 softwares. The questionnaire which has been specifically prepared to draw people’s perceptions had reliability. The validation of the latent constructs was done by conducting confirmatory factor analysis. Then structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to estimate the relationships between predictors and outcomes.
This study found that social interactions in gated communities is higher than in non-gated communities. But residents in non-gated residential areas have a higher sense of safety as compared to those in gated communities. The results of SEM showed that the direct effects of perceived density on social interaction, is significant in both groups and there is negative causal relationship between perception of density and social interactions. But in gated communities, non-recursive model suggests a feedback loop in which decreases in perceived density, increase social interaction, increasing sense of safety, in turn, further decreasing perceived density. In non-gated communities, sense of safety was influenced by perceived density and prompting a sense of safety consequently correlate with social interaction as an independent factor. This finding showed a mediating role of sense of safety in the relationship between perceived density and social interaction in non-gated communities.