ISSN: 2717-4417

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Architecture, Ardabil Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ardabil, Iran.




Participation is a concept in various fields and includes a wide range of meanings appropriate to its field of application.
Despite the relatively broad theoretical background of participation, its efficiency in the field of public space design process has been less.
Three components of individual, social and spatial dimensions are the main factors influencing the participatory design process of public spaces.

Introduction: It is important to consider the participation of public space users in the process of architectural design, and each of the various definitions of public participation that is reviewed somehow expresses the richness of people’s involvement in urban affairs at different levels, viewing public participation as an essential, inseparable component of urban development and noting the positive, undeniable results of the public’s contribution to the design and architecture process. On the other hand, this issue has been considered by many researchers and designers of urban public spaces in recent years, where participatory design solutions have been presented in practical examples at the three levels of design, planning, and decision-making. Despite the existence of a specific method of participatory motivation in design, concern for the issue is limited in Iran mainly to low-level methods of receiving information involving, for example, interviews and recorded user opinions, and a kind of deception is observed at macro levels of design, planning, and decision-making. Thus, the results obtained from these measures are restricted to purely-written or low-level operational intervention. The important point in this regard is the improper explanation of the effective components of participation, on the one hand, and the ineffective structure of these components and its relationship with the design process, on the other hand. Therefore, it is necessary to address the various dimensions of public participation and identify the components that affect the participatory design of public spaces. Knowledge of the components affecting these spaces allows designers, planners, and urban officials to design and plan quality public spaces with the people’s participation.
Theoretical Framework: Participation is a concept that comes in a variety of contexts, and includes a wide range of meanings tailored to its social, cultural, and practical aspects. It is regarded as a kind of notion that is easy to discuss but difficult and complex in practice. Despite the growing significance of public participation in architecture, urban planning, and urban management and the dedication of an important part of research in recent years to this issue, many architects, designers, planners, urban managers, and citizens still often disagree on public participation. Recognizing a black box on the path to individuals’ effective participation in the process of designing public spaces, they emphasize that efforts made in the field of public participation have often been ineffective, and efficiency has hardly been achieved in practice, especially in the field of design and architecture, even with the relatively broad theoretical background of participation. On the other hand, the diversity that is there in the field of participation in different disciplines has caused persistent problems with the way the concept can be used. Architectural designers and thinkers have different professional views on the process of participation in design, and the views of participation-oriented architects and participatory design have been considered as a new approach in the specialized training of architects. Collaborative design has assumed various manifestations in architecture, all of which have in common the use of opinions and the participation of more and more people in the design, especially in the architecture, of public spaces.
Methodology: The present research is an applied deductive-review study.
Results and Discussion: The present article aimed to explain the participatory factors by presenting and analyzing a conceptual-structural model of the impacts of the effective factors in the process of designing public spaces. Accordingly, the three main components, including the individual, social, and spatial dimensions, were extracted as the main influential factors in participatory design. The intersections of these three with concepts such as the sense of place (in the semantic dimension), physical and functional diversity (in the socio-spatial dimension), and permeability and readability (in the spatial dimension) played the major roles in specification of the levels of participatory intervention. At the secondary level, the components of access, security, and invitation (in the spatial dimension) exhibited the next greatest parts. The secondary level of influence of the place facilitates people’s presence in public places, while the primary level of influence deepens the participation in public places, and creates an emotional, unconscious, semantic structure at the place.
Conclusion: This research emphasizes the essential role of the concept of participation in the design process, which is multiple, complex and multi-level. The findings obtained in the design process can be applied at three levels: in the field of decision-making and design planning management, in the field of physical planning and urban design, and, finally, in the field of architecture and micro-space design. The first level deepens participation in public places, and creates an emotional, unconscious, semantic structure. The second level causes this deepening process to continue, and the third level makes it possible to facilitate people’s presence at public places.

Acknowledgment: This article was taken from the Master’s thesis in Architecture entitled Designing a neighborhood house with the approach of social participation of citizens in the ancient fabric of Ardabil (Mansouria neighborhood), which was defended by the first author under the second author’s supervision at the Islamic Azad University of Ardabil


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