Examining objective and subjective aspects of accessibility to neighborhood facilities in Quality of Life (A case study of Margheh, Iran)



Urban quality of life is one of the important areas of urban studies in different countries. This importance stems from the increasing attention to monitoring public policies and its role as efficient tool in urban management and planning. The unprecedented growth of urbanization in developing countries specifically in Iran, the cities now present a multi-structural fabric which show considerable difference regarding to their quality of life and accessibility to neighborhood facilities and public spaces. Public spaces are a vital part of our daily life in cities; streets where we pass every day to reach our work place, places where children play and religious locations where our holy duties take place. So the quality of our access to different urban facilities could increase or decrease the quality of our life. Accessibility to urban public spaces and facilities can be one of the main factors for the urban residents. There has been especial attention toward measuring accessibility in advanced nations. Accessibility is in turn an important factor which impacts all aspects of public space in both direct and indirect ways. Accessibility can be defined in different ways, and once more objective and subjective dimensions are important. It is a long tradition in urban planning that objective factors are used for study of urban life; however, this approach could be useful in first place to illustrate the level of resident's satisfaction and their environmental quality of life. But the reality is that concentrating only on the objective characteristics regardless to the subjective characters could be misleading because researches show that an objective quality necessarily does not mirror the subjective one. The present paper focuses on both objective and subjective approaches to measure quality of life in the city of Maragheh. Thus, regarding to the scarcity of research on smaller cities of Iran the research tries to examine urban accessibility to public space. The methodology of the research is based on descriptive-analytical methods which applied TOPSIS and FUZZY logic in GIS extension 9.3. The results revealed that the new parts of the city showed considerable differences by objective and subjective accessibility. On the base of research findings, the new neighborhoods of the city illustrated higher disparities in accessing urban facilities by objective and subjective approach. It could be discussed that due to recent physical expansion of the areas, still many urban facilities are not created here and so the level of objective accessibility decreased. But in old and rural sections of the city people have more facilities to use and therefore the level of accessibility increase in both areas. It should be mentioned that despite the attractions of newer parts of cities still there is a kind of sense of place in older parts of the city which attached its residents to stay here. Also, the findings of the study accentuated the importance of integrated objective-subjective dimensions of accessibility to proper understanding of urban quality of life to distribute main urban facilities by urban planners and designers.