Reading Urban Environment by Photo: A Critical Tool for Socio-Cultural Analyzing
AbstractPhotography has been used as a research tool throughout a range of disciplines. In the last decades usage of photos in landscape and urban design grow noticeably; yet applying it in architectural research or education for discovering social determinations needs more attentions. In this study 34 participations in second year of architecture were involved in a photo-survey using self snapshot photography approach for the selected urban environment with open ended questionnaires in Shiraz, Iran. Despite
the observers’ lacks of visual research skills, they pay an equal attention to physical and social environment even in the absence of social activity facts in the photos. I argued that students used their mental image and memories of the urban space in commentaries about each photos. Besides, they used visual facts in each photo for arguing and make conclusions logically. Yet, two kinds of challenges indentified in this study. The first emerged from ‘educational constraints’ which has less attention to
urban spaces, social and behavioral activities in architecture education and conduce to fewer comments’ of observers on visual irregularities and diffusions in managing signboards, urban graffiti and façade designs. The second which could be named as ‘cultural constraints’, derives from cultural legacies and historical attachments which leads observers to be more sensitive to rehabilitation and revitalization rather than new buildings. Hence, the observer approaches like this, eliminated more contemporary
interactions between citizens and modern build environment in visual survey.
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