|Kent State University
|Architecture; sense of community, residential neighborhoods,architecture, Iranian culture, environmental psychology, sociology,community psychology, urban sociology
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The sense of community is one of the significant theories in sociological and psychological research that investigates people’s feelings, conducts, and interactions in a community. McMillan and Chavis (1989) defined the most accepted definition and theory for sense of community which described it as “ a feeling of belonging, a feeling that others matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that personal needs will be met through a commitment to being together.” The four components of membership, influence, integration and needs’ fulfillment, and shared emotional connection collaborate to maintain or improve sense of community among community members. The thesis with using the ethnographic research methods evaluates the role of physical environments in strengthening people’s quality of interaction and sense of community in residential neighborhoods. Specifically, with looking at three distinct residential areas in the city of Tehran in Iran. Case studies—Ekbatan Residential Complex, Sheikh Hadi Residential Neighborhood, and Vanak Garden Residential Complex— selected based on architectural style and community scale. The thesis divided into two parts: the first part investigates the role that design features such as public spaces, buildings’ layout, and green areas can play in improving individuals’ sense of community and social ties. As well as, indicating the importance of the balance between socio demographic and physical factors in creating a robust community by considering the users’ social conditions and knowing what physical elements meet their needs. The second part of the thesis introduces an alternative factor a “place attachment” to prior research elements in measuring sense of community by using symbolic interactionism theory to fill the gap between a person and built environment. Specifically, the role that physical environments can play in influencing individuals’ perception and shared meaning in reinforcing sense of community. It is one of the roles of designers and planners to identify the conditions that reinforce sense of community within residential neighborhoods is an essential task for designers to promote individuals’ feeling of safety, security, civic responsibility and improve their physical and mental health. Advisors/Committee Members: Willoughby, William (Advisor), Sharag-Eldin, Adil (Advisor).