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:: Volume 1, Issue 8 (2-2016) ::
JIAS 2016, 1(8): 35-56 Back to browse issues page
Relearning the Concept of Mahalleh [Neighborhood] in Iranian Desert Cities, Case Study: Mahallehs in Naeen
Hamid Reza Movaqqar, Ehsan Ranjbar , Mohammad Reza Pour-Jafar
Abstract:   (2724 Views)

In contemporary urban planning and design literature, small-scale urban divisions attract much consideration as the most important scale of residential use. In addition, the sustainable characteristics of traditional units has made the introduced models by Western planners to be based on the principles of their respective traditional neighborhood units. The equivalent of a neighborhood, the most prominent residential scale in Iran, is the mahalleh. A review of existing studies on the concept and structure of an Iranian mahalleh shows that, on the one hand, the results were mainly only descriptive, and on the other hand, were not based on a clear methodology. So far, no appropriate theory matching the culture and contemporary life in Iran is introduced yet. This study assumes that through case studies of mahallehs in historical cities based on qualitative and quantitative analysis, new dimensions of the nature of a mahalleh can be defined. Therefore, according to the main body of Iranian research in the context of cities in the central desert, in addition to the already known historical context of Naeen consisting of seven mahallehs, it was selected as the case for this research. The historical analysis and interpretation, descriptive-analytical, case study, and content analysis methods were used in this study. Data from historical records, field observations, and interviews on oral history were utilized in analysis by ArcGIS software to compile a special model of mahallehs in Naeen, enabling the evaluation of quantitative and qualitative indicators. The results of the evaluation of qualitative indicators identified that the development of the city and its mahallehs was gradual and in harmony with new requirements until the Qajar period. The customs and social values, especially religious values had a decisive role in the emergence of elements, attributes, and quality of connections, as well as the formation of the city and neighborhood identity. Also, harsh climate conditions and limited water resources led to dense building masses, while also limiting the size and populations of the mahalleh and the city. Quantitative findings show that the area of the smallest mahalleh is 2.3 hectares, while the largest is 8.2 hectares. These figures are much less than the contemporary western neighborhood unit. The mean distance between houses in each mahalleh is, respectively, 131 meters from the local square, 171 meters from the bazaar, and 81 meters from the local mosque. This clearly indicates pedestrian compatibility of the model, in addition to the importance of the mosque owing to their large number.

Keywords: mahalleh, desert cities, Naeen, qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
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Movaqqar H R, Ranjbar E, Pour-Jafar M R. Relearning the Concept of Mahalleh [Neighborhood] in Iranian Desert Cities, Case Study: Mahallehs in Naeen. JIAS. 2016; 1 (8) :35-56
URL: http://jias.kashanu.ac.ir/article-1-863-en.html

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