ISSN: 2717-4417

Document Type : Research Paper


1 School of Urban Planning, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Art & Architecture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran.

3 Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Art & Architecture, Jondi Shapoor University, Dezful, Iran.




Internal and environmental features relevant to street music are investigated to allow discovery of the predictors of the sociability of the public realm.
Voluntary presence, active social presence, and passive social presence are examined as three types of public life characteristic.
Environmental factors have a predominant impact on the citizens’ attendance of music performance venues as compared to internal factors.

The physical expansion of cities and the proliferation of motor vehicle use have led to the fact that contemporary public spaces are less primed to people’s daily commute. In such circumstances, cultural events held at the heart of the urban settings turn up essential to the improvement of the socialization potentials of the public realm. Street music is a type of cultural micro-event emerging in the public domain, which affects the public life of urban spaces by boosting the socio-cultural qualities of the public realm. The purpose of this study was to compare the impacts of the different forms of citizen presence in public spaces, including voluntary presence, inactive social presence, and active social presence during the street music performance, and to compare the impacts of environmental and relevant internal factors on audience enthusiasm.
Street performance in Iran has not been limited to a specific era, and the contents have mainly included narration of the lives of mythical figures and praise for the kings. Reproducibility can be considered as a major characteristic of these performances, which have been well integrated with urban open spaces from the past to the present, both individually and collectively.  
Theoretical framework
Pioneers of public life studies have pointed out several categorizations of presence in urban public spaces mainly through direct observation. Since most of today’s cities are automobile-oriented, citizens’ mandatory attendance of public spaces is not usually observed. Their voluntary activities, however, could be encouraged through enhancement of the quality of the characteristics of the space. Improvement of the quality of public spaces is aimed at making these spaces more sociable through facilitation of social activities, which are mainly dependent on the contribution of more and more citizens in voluntary activities. Temporary communication among people in public spaces creates a third form of activity, namely social activity, which could be performed either actively or passively. The latter is more important to public life researchers because livable spaces are those where a variety of social activities are held.
One of the most important events that occur at music venues is the provision of the opportunity to gain more knowledge of other people’s cultures, which realized through face-to-face interactions with other people at such places. A Music venue can also define the identity of a street or neighborhood or evoke shared memories of a community.   
Urban soundscape is affected much more by street music performances than urban landscape. Sounds heard at public spaces are twofold: main sounds and background sounds, which could lead to different perceptions of soundscape at these spaces.
Therefore, street music performance plays a significant role in the revitalization of the urban public realm by attracting people in both static and dynamic modes, on the one hand, and encouraging their long-term interaction with each other, on the other.
The present descriptive-analytical study used data obtained through distribution of 250 questionnaires, in the form of a Likert scale, randomly among people present at six sites of street music performance in the city of Shiraz, Iran. Ordinal logistic regression was carried out to obtain the main predictors of presence at the street music venues. The dependent variables included the tendency to perform voluntary activities, the tendency to perform active social activities, and the tendency to perform passive social activities. The independent variables fell into two categories: the environmental factors associated with music performance in urban spaces, including perceived security, sense of pleasure, place identity, and psychological comfort, and the internal factors associated with music performance in urban spaces, including interest in music, performance venue, performers’ mobility, and music sound clarity.
Results and discussion
The results of the ordinal logistic regression analysis indicated that passive social presence was affected by street music performance more than the other two components. Moreover, environmental factors relevant to street music had predominant impacts on the citizens’ attendance of these urban spaces as compared to internal factors. Of the significant predictors of voluntary presence, gender, sound clarity, and sense of pleasure were found to be the most important among all the variables, the internal variables, and the environmental variables, respectively. Passive social presence was mainly determined by the sense of pleasure, the most effective factor in both the complete model and the set of environmental features, and by sound clarity, the most effective factor in the set of internal variables. Active social presence was predicted mainly by gender, perceived security, and sound clarity, the most important factors in the sets of all variables, environmental variables, and internal variables, respectively.
Based on the results derived from the case study, a policy was proposed to provide the venues with advanced equipment and adapt the musicians’ technical levels given the importance of each space in order to increase the vibrant attendance of the public realm. Another suggestion was to apply a policy combined with incentives and deterrent initiatives to adjust the environmental quality of the venues.


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