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Urban Architecture Impacts People’s Esprit

In the emerging subfield of architectural sociology, sociologists and architects are educated to the benefits of working in tandem to better connect people to their designed environments
The average lifespan of buildings in Iran is between 25 and 30 years.The average lifespan of buildings in Iran is between 25 and 30 years.

Municipalities across continents employ both architects and sociologists to plan urban building designs based on the area’s specific characteristics.

In the sociological perspective, any building “is a living organism and urban architecture has an impact on the esprit of residents,” says Saam Tehranchi, a well-known architect in Tehran.

Architectural sociologists use a sociological perspective to enhance building design as there is an interrelationship between people and their built and natural surroundings.

In the emerging subfield of architectural sociology, sociologists and architects are educated to the benefits of working in tandem to better connect people to their designed environments.

“It is unfortunate that any wealthy person can build a skyscraper wherever he wants,” today in Tehran and other bigger cities in the country, Tehranchi said, on the sidelines of the recent 5th National Professional Architectural and Urban Planning Meet held at Mahmoud Afshar Foundation in Tehran’s Vali-e-Asr Street.

Some of the projects of the 38-year-old Iranian architect include the Embassy of Iran in Jordan, Darrous Tower in Tehran, and Kish Commercial Complex on Kish Island, Hormozgan Province.

“Whenever I walk along the unique, wide sidewalks of Taleqani Street, they evoke memories from the past when the spirit of joy was flowing in the street at nights,” says Morad Saqafi, political researcher and journalist.

Now most of the buildings in the historical central districts of the capital are used as offices and for commercial purposes, and that is why the street has turned into “a silent and even scary place at night,” he said, Financial Tribune’s sister publication the Persian- language Donya-e-Eqtesad reported.

When employees return home from work, and the hustle and bustle of the daytime disappears, an eerie silence falls, turning the street into an opportune place for crime.

Official statistics indicate that between the years 2011-2013, due to the change in regulations on the use of residential units for commercial and office space, the number of residents living in the central districts (6, 7, 11, and 12) has declined significantly. The day population is five times more than the permanent residents.

“Unlike many other municipalities around the world, the Tehran Municipality (TM) doesn’t organize architectural contests inviting architects and urban experts to find the best solutions to urban challenges,” Saqafi said.

Several countries have increased parks and recreational spaces in their commercial districts to revitalize them, but such spaces are rapidly diminishing in Tehran that is home to 12 million people and growing at terrible speed.

  Element of Immortality Ignored

Tehran Municipality has disregarded the “element of immortality” in urban architecture. On the other hand, current urban management rules ignore this aspect.

“When architects design buildings that they know will be demolished after 20-30 years, they won’t be encouraged to design them with long-lasting elements,” said Amir Hussein Pourjohari, an experienced architect and moderator of the Tehran meeting of architects and urban planners.

Instead of laying emphasis on increasing the number of urban projects, “we should improve the quality of urban areas by creating long-lasting urban architecture.”

According to Iran Construction Engineering Organization (IRCEO), the average lifespan of buildings in Iran is between 25 and 30 years, while the figure is 150 years in developed countries. In recent years steps have been taken by municipalities to better control the work of civil engineers and construction works in the big cites. It is a good step, but not enough.

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