Sustainable and Friendly Cities: Comparing Almaden District (San Jose, California, USA) and Jolfa District (Isfahan, Iran)

By Shohreh Khodabakhshi.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Our goal is to study the factors that create a sustainable urban form in a district from the point of view of emotional attachment, safety, legibility, identity, liveliness, and attractiveness. In this study we analyze two different districts from the point of view of the above mentioned factors. One of the districts is Almaden, San Jose, USA, which was formed based on zoning. The other is Jolfa, Isfahan, Iran, which was formed based on mixed-use urban planning. The residential and commercial areas of Jolfa are close and mixed, and streams run through it. The residential and commercial areas of Almaden are far from each other. Yet Almaden has nicely integrated the environment with the district, and has nearly achieved optimal pedestrian ways. Although there are many different factors influencing the sustainability of a city, local factors are far more important. With the amount of social interactions and chances for random meetings decreasing, a city must encourage people to meet more often by providing more chances to do so such as providing more meeting places. Designing good looking pedestrian ways and public places encourages people to use such places more. A good city design is a cordial invitation for people to visit different areas and walk through them. The proximity of residential and commercial areas is also very important. The criteria used to analyze the above districts are defined by Kevin Lynch’s theory (path, landmark, edge, node and district). We look at each district from the pedestrian’s view, legibility of city, integration of environment, and usage of public spaces. The same methodology and ideas can be used to study and improve the urban sustainability of other districts.

Keywords: Sustainable Urban Form, Urban Legibility, City Image, Social Interaction, Emotional Attachment, Safety, Legibility, Identity, Liveliness, Attractiveness

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp.285-312. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.576MB).

Dr. Shohreh Khodabakhshi

LEED and Sustainability Consultant, San Jose State University Energy Utilities & Engineering, San Jose, USA

Shohreh Khodabakhshi received her M. Sc degree in Architecture in 1998, Isfahan, Iran, and Ph.D. in Urban Sustainability 2003 Tehran, Iran. She received her certificate in Sustainable Design Professional from University of California at Berkeley Extention in 2011. She has more than 10 years of experience as university associate professor and researcher. She has also worked for more than 10 years on various design and implementation projects in urban design, individual building design and interior design. She is the author of several international papers on sustainable architecture, urban sustainability, Middle Eastern Architecture. Her current interests are Green Design, Sustainability, and LEED projects.


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