explaining the gap between theory and practice in Iranian urban design projects based on communicative theory

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Urban planning, Collage of fine arts, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Urban planning, north Tehran branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Urban planning, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Referring to the concepts of communicative theory, urban design introduced as an interdisciplinary knowledge that is involved in political and social struggles. so it cannot play a neutral and purely scientific role in practice, Due to direct interference in the interests of various economic and social groups. The purpose of this study is to identify the basic concepts of communicative theory and to examine the application of these concepts in urban design projects in Iran. Therefore, by examining the philosophical theories affecting the communicative theory, the basic concepts and how these concepts are applied in the process of urban design are set, in the form of a conceptual framework. The developed conceptual framework provides the basis for the analysis and evaluation of selected projects in the next step by using directed qualitative content analysis method. The results show that by placing the most stages of urban design process in very low scale, the projects focused only on the technocratic aspects of process, and concepts of communicative theory such as power and its role in guiding process, empowerment and acquaintance of the society with their interests and expectations, and how to participate and follow it up in the form of a process of social learning have been neglected. While communicative theory, as a missing link in Iranian urban design project, with the reformulation of the relationship between space, designer, people and the institution of power, consider urban design as a product of processes in which competing discourses, based on communicative action, maximize their understanding scope by accepting multiple interest, and configure space in a participatory process. Accordingly by Ignoring the theoretical knowledge’s evolution in practice, the knowledge generated in practice will be subsequently incapable to develop and modify theoretical knowledge and consequently increase the gap between theory and practice.


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