The Social Assessment of Subway Terminals



In the contemporary era, Subway terminals are known as examples of dynamic public spaces in today’s urban context, in all over the world. Therefore, these constructions, that are recognized as above ground appearance of subway networks in different parts of inner and sometimes outer city areas, are the places of social encounters, predicted and unexpected happenings and various behavioral patterns. In other words, social dimension is one of the most important aspects of these spaces. As far as there is no comprehensive study on social dimension of subway terminals, also due to an inefficient social performance of Iranian subway stations in recent years, the main aim of this research is to provide a social assessment framework for the study of these public spaces. According to the first aim, another purpose is to evaluate the social aspects of Shahid Soltani subway terminal, which is known as one of the most crowded public areas in city of Karaj, by using this certain framework. In order to cover the main purposes, by using the descriptive – analytical method, first the concept of subway station as an urban space has been studied. Then by comparing various opinions regarding social aspects, the most important social criteria of these certain spaces, which are: safety and security, vitality and attractiveness, accessibility and justice, partnership and stewardship, health and education and identity, have been presented. Afterward by using these criteria, four successful case studies around the world, have been evaluated and key indicators, in accordance with each criteria, have been achieved. Based on the results of theories and successful case studies, which include 6 social criteria and 42 indicators, social dimension assessment framework for subway terminal has been proposed . According to the proposed framework, an assessment checklist and content of the questionnaire have been prepared . By using this checklist and filling out the 40 questionnaires, social dimension of Shahid Soltani subway terminal has been evaluated. Due to analyzing the social aspects of Shahid Soltani station, by combining opinions of both authors and users, strength and weakness points of this space, have been identified. The result of this analysis has shown that, the Shahid Soltani subway terminal severely suffers from lack of three out of six main social criteria, which are accessibility and justice, partnership and stewardship, health and educational factors. They are the most problematic factors in this public space. In addition to mentioned issues, this station also suffers from lack of three other criteria, which are safety and security, identity and functional attractiveness. The only strength of this space is the physical attractiveness, which is the result of green spaces usage in terminal open space and the uniform physical setting of terminal concourse. On the whole, the findings show that, despite the importance of Shahid Soltani subway terminal as a transitional and interchange space in city of Karaj and its important role as a city entrance, due to the lack of social qualities, this station has failed to fulfill its purpose as a successful public space.