Investigating the Effects of Re-generated Urban Spaces on the Socio-Economic Performance of the Historical Context of Isfahan(Case study: Imam Ali Square)
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Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)
Abstract:
Introduction

Imam Ali Square (AS) as the most important open space in the northern part of Isfahan with high activity density needs to achieve the desired quantitative and qualitative dimensions. The reconstruction and revitalization of the square has been the major costly urban renovation project in this city. For examlem to rehabilitate the square, the passing cars in the four streets leading to this place were first driven out of the square through the underpasses and then, all the shops in the middle of the square wer bought and demolished through public participation by using participation papers. Next, the markets on the sides of the square were completed and restored with traditional designs. The local markets have now their activaties in this square on Mondays and Wednesdays, while the municipality has tried to organize or dismantle them. When paying attention to the actions taken, one can observe that they are comprehensive and holistic.However, only physical issues, such as paving and improvement of appearance, have been considered in the restoration plans of this complex. It seems that effective steps have not been taken to revitalize this square. Revitalization of an urban -- economic life and vitality --has a hidden dimension often overlooked. For example, this complex has not been successful in enabling the former merchants to buy new shops and got involved in such issues as lack of attending to former small businesses that have used to increase interactions, lack of welcoming citizens, and lack of maintaining meanings and memories. Due to its proximity to the old market and historical sites, this space has the potential to create an active tourist center that can provide strong roots of urban life. Therefore, paying more attention to the performance of this area could increase citizens' satisfaction and vitality and a sense of belonging for citizens and businesses. Undoubtedly, neglecting the mentioned factors and not conducting the necessary research in this regard would cause the lack of tangible identity, disorder and visual confusion, lack of psychological security and people’s confusion in the area, abandonment of cultural and historical elements, lack of positive people’s evaluation of urban spaces, reduced social interactions, and decreased sense of belonging. Therefore, the present made an attempt to study the effects of recreating Imam Ali Square on the socio-economic performance of the surrounding area.

Methodology

The present study was an applied research with a descriptive-analytical approach. In the first step, a list of the influential factors were identified as the research variables and compiled in the form of two questionnaires. In the first questionnaire, the importance of each factor based on Likert Spectrum was asked from 100 urban experts as the statistical population using the Snowball method. To assess the importance of economic and socio-cultural practices in Imam Ali Square, the information collected from the first questionnaire was analyzed through descriptive findings and Chi-square tests in the SPSS software environment. The average values of economic and socio-cultural indicators in the real society were assumed to be equal to 3. The importance of the studied indicators in all the items had to be higher than average. Applying the method of Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) in the LISREL software environment, the effective socio-economic factors in recreating the area of ​​Imam Ali Square were identified.

Discussion

The results showed that the level of satisfaction with the neighborhood was below the social criterion and the economic criterion of land and housing market was one of the most important factors affecting the quality of life in the area. Changing false and unstable activities and jobs, organizing suitable jobs and activities, modifying the prices of residential commercial lands, increasing the qualities of commercial units, attracting domestic and foreign investors to the economic sector, increasing the presence of pedestrians and social groups and their understanding of the area, removing the disturbing jobs, strengthening the national and international images of this square, organizing beggars, using the square as an urban space, and reducing individual and social insecurities in the social sector were among the factors that received the highest points in the fields of recreating the economic and socio-cultural performance of the square, thus indicating that the project of recreating the revitalizing Imam Ali Square had been successful in these fields.

Conclusion

Imam Ali Square was considered as the most active and prosperous commercial and economic areas in Isfahan before its reconstruction. People from the surrounding cities and villages in addition to Isfahan used to come to this place for shopping due to the great variety of products offered in this area. For example, the fruit and vegetable market in the north of Abdul Razzaq Street was very prosperous though being an irregular complex of fruit stalls. In the past, especially during the Qajar period, this center was used to buy and sell coal. However, after supplying oil and gas to the domestic and industrial markets, the coal sale activity gradually declined and was replaced by peddling activities. Towards the end of the square, a gathering place was formed for vendors to sell second-hand and cheap goods. Another market in this area was the bird market in Cucumber Caravanserai. In this market, animals, such as chickens, roosters, partridges, pigeons, etc., were sold. The mentioned center and the coal market had a very dirty atmosphere and an unfavorable appearance. They had nothing to do with the historical identity and cultural values ​​of the area. In this place, peddling, smuggling, buying and selling drugs, and begging were done a lot.Nevertheless, among the actions taken, meanings and memorable messages, customer attraction, business satisfaction, and economic life were lacking in this area and this had caused it to be involved in a declined prosperity and hence not to have its former vitality.

Language:
Persian
Published:
Geography and Environmental Planning, Volume:33 Issue: 1, 2022
Pages:
19 - 41
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