The Role of Culture in Greenway Planning: Focus on Islamic-Persian Garden Characteristics in the UK and the USA
For more than a decade, planners have been concerned about green spaces to achieve sustainability in both environmental/ecological and cultural/social issues. Urban planning processes provide methods of consultation that incorporate community views to create complex built forms in urban environment for diverse cultures, needs and values. The use of multicultural ideas in planning or decision-making can change the nature of city life (Fincher, Iveson, Leitner, & Preston, 2014). In a multicultural society, greenways have great potential for providing a social and cultural network, which integrate people with diverse ethnics and perspectives when they are developed in partnership with different groups to meet the needs of communities. Thus, the interaction and communication between different cultures provide opportunities to create new spaces. This paper focuses on greenways planning in two multicultural countries (the UK and the USA), where they have public gardens that incorporate Islamic design. Specifically, design principles associated with “Islamic - Persian Garden (IPG)” has been chosen to discuss cultural aspects of green spaces.
Both“Islamic- Persian Garden (IPG), and“Greenway Planning” seek to achieve sustainability goals by combining function and design elements. IPGs combine geometrical form with light, water and shade to achieve particular aesthetic and environmental outcomes. At a different scale, Ahern and Fabos define greenways as “networks of land that are planned, designed and managed for ecological, recreational, cultural and aesthetic purposes” (Fabos & Ahern, 1996). Greenways have evolved into the flexible multi-purpose model for landscape planning and strategies (Ahern, 2004). In Muslim countries like Iran, IPG are integrated into urban greenspaces. In western countries, greenway planning has grown steadily in popularity in the planning and design professions as an efficient and socially desirable approach to open space planning. Although, in the western context, greenways planning does not necessarily include specific design principles that are reflective of their diverse populations and cultures.
In this paper, IPGs and greenways are explained regarding the key policies, processes and designs. Then, justification for designing IPGs within greenway
planning is discussed by highlighting case studies from the UK and the USA. Finally, similarities and difference between function and design will be explored; other issues regarding the history, key actions and design elements will be identified.