عنوان مقاله [English]
With the global increase in the elderly population in the last few decades, creating suitable urban spaces in order to serve them has become a common challenge for planners and policymakers of all societies. Also, in our country, due to the increase in the aging rate and experts' warnings on a senior crisis in the near future, the necessity of creating suitable public spaces for this group is vital. In this regard, the current research has studied the desirability of urban public spaces in relation to the needs of the elderly community in Mellat Street, Shahrekord, using the approach of elderly-friendly streets, and then investigated its role in creating a sense of satisfaction. The type of applied research and the research method is descriptive-analytical. The statistical population of the research includes the elderly who were present in this area during the researcher's questioning and presence on the sidewalks and Mellat Street for several days (spring 1402), and 300 of them were selected by random sampling. The required data was collected through library studies and completing the questionnaire. Data analysis has been done using statistical methods such as one-sample T-test, Pearson's correlation coefficient and multiple linear regression test. The obtained findings showed that the average values of most of the investigated indicators are lower than the mean value. Also, there is a positive relationship between the components of elderly-friendly streets and the sense of satisfaction. In addition, the safety and accessibility components have the greatest impact on the psychological satisfaction of the elderly community. In general, the results show that Mellat Street in Shahrekord has not been successful in creating a sense of satisfaction for the elderly community and has not been able to provide a pleasant and safe environment for this group
Public spaces in urban areas play an important role in establishing social interactions with the elderly group and promoting their health. These spaces are very suitable for the feeling of security and comfort of people, especially the elderly community, and increase their willingness to spend time outside the home. The street is the most important space for public activity. The daily activities of the residents, such as social communication, make it possible for the elderly-friendly streets to create an attractive environment for the users, and being in these streets provides a spiritual feeling full of identity, belonging familiarity, and the feeling of being "at home" for the elderly. At the same time, in terms of physical indicators such as safety, accessibility, readability, and recognizability, it provides them a reliable space. Such streets contrast with the uniform street space and create a positive psychological subjective perception of the street space and its diverse social activities. The welfare of the elderly is one of the important aspects of development and modern urban planning with respect to the increase in the urbanization and aging population. Their satisfaction with aspects of urban life (e.g., street use) effectively measures society's ability to promote welfare, harmony, and development. This is worth considering in our country, which has passed its youth and is entering middle age and old age with an upward trend. The city of Shahrekord, as one of the provincial centers of the country, has more than 5% of its population consisting of elderly people, and up to now, significant actions have not been taken to the needs of the elderly in this city. This research evaluates Mellat Street in Shahrekord City, which has a commercial-recreational role and is considered one of the main streets of this city. Therefore, the main questions of the research are as follows: What is the desirability of the urban spaces of Mellat Shahrekord Street to the needs of the elderly? And to what extent these spaces are effective in the psychic satisfaction of the elderly?
This research is applied in terms of purpose and descriptive-analytical in terms of nature and method. The statistical population of this research consists of the elderly walking on the sidewalks and Mellat Street during the researcher's visit for a few days (in the spring of 1402), which was done in the form of random sampling. The measurement tool was prepared in the form of a closed-answer questionnaire on a five-point Likert scale. According to the purpose of this research, 300 questionnaires were prepared with 44 questions and randomly distributed and completed among 300 elderly people. The validity of the form and the content of the questionnaire (dimensions and items) were confirmed using the opinions of relevant experts. Also, using Cronbach's alpha coefficient, the stability, and reliability of the questionnaire were confirmed. To analyze the data, one-sample T-tests, Pearson's correlation coefficient, and multiple linear regression were used.
Results and discussion
This research was conducted to investigate the desirability of urban spaces for the psychic satisfaction of the elderly, with an emphasis on Mellat Street in Shahrekord. To achieve this goal and measure the desirability of the urban space of Mellat Street, using the T-Tech test, a sample of six main components including safety, recognizability, accessibility, familiarity, legibility, comfort, and elements, and their related indicators have been used. Examining the results of the research shows that among the six studied components, only two components of familiarity and readability has a much better status than the other components. In general, according to the results of this section, it can be said that from the point of view of the elderly, the study area does not have favorable conditions and does not meet their needs. Also, by using the Pearson correlation coefficient test, it was found that there is a positive and significant relationship between the six components and the psychic satisfaction of the elderly, and among them, the safety index with a coefficient of 0.609 has the highest correlation with the dependent variable. The multiple regression test also gives similar results. This means that by considering the six components (safety, recognizability, accessibility, familiarity, readability, and convenience) as independent variables and the sense of psychic satisfaction as dependent variables, the result was obtained all components which have investigated factors that affect the satisfaction of the elderly. So that these factors have been able to explain about 50% of the changes in the dependent variable and among these elements, the safety component, and its related indicators have the greatest regression effect in explaining the satisfaction of the elderly in Mellat Street, Shahrekord.
According to the obtained results, it can be said that Mellat Street of Shahrekord, as the central market and the main symbol of the city, and the most prominent public space of Shahrekord has faced many problems and has not been able to satisfy the citizens, especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly. The status of some investigated indicators such as the lack of safe and covered areas for the elderly to sit, the lack of control and regulations limiting noise and pollution, the lack of markings on the tables and the opening of the entrances, the fear of falling, the lack of available parking spaces. With the priority of use by the elderly, the lack of equipment and furniture suitable for the elderly on the street, the presence of disturbing obstacles on the sidewalks, the improper flooring of the sidewalks, the prolongation of the widening and development operations in this axis and the emergence of many problems for passers-by, especially the elderly. The lack of ramps and gentle slopes, and the fear of collision with motorcyclists are more serious than the rest of the studied indicators, which has the most dissatisfaction among the elderly on Mellat Street. Therefore, it is necessary to prioritize the welfare and comfort of the elderly by considering the six indicators of elderly-friendly streets in future planning.
There is no funding support.
All of the authors approved the content of the manuscript and agreed on all aspects of the work.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declared no conflict of interest.
We are grateful to all the scientific consultants of this paper.