The Application of Environmental Preferences Criteria in Public Space Assessment, with an Emphasis on the Sense of Place

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Urban Planning, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran


Influenced by cognitive approach in environmental psychology, the concept of environmental preferences proposes frameworks and general criteria to analyse the preferability of the space in people’s judgement. These criteria refer to qualities of desirable environments. However, the phenomenological approach asserts real, lived experience of an individual and his or her expectations and interpretations as the most important. The present research examines these criteria and concepts in an urban space, using environmental preferences measurement criteria on one hand, and the concept of the sense of place on the other. To do so, the assessment of Quds Street’s desirability for the University of Tehran students has been used as the basis. Field studies have been conducted in two stages and compared with each other. In the first stage Quds Street was assessed by a group of 20 trained urban design students, based on environmental preferences criteria. In the second, a series of interviews were conducted using ‘go-along with’ method, to study the sense of place in 25 students from the University of Tehran. Interviews were then analysed using qualitative content analysis. A comparison between the findings of the above two stages shows that the concept of the sense of place can help experts accurately find how preferable an urban space is.


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