Soroush Nikeghbali

PhD

Density and design: The impact of urban densification on design qualities in the built environment.

Qualifications

BA in Architecture, Shahid Beheshti Univeristy (SBU), Tehran, Iran
MA (Distinction) in Urban Design. Oxford Brookes University

Supervisors

Dr Alan Reeve, Dr Jon Cooper, Professor Georgia Butina Watson

Research project

This study is focused on the concept of urban intensification, investigating the costs and benefits of higher density urban development. It attempts to define the exact physical patterns and spatial characteristic of the residential urban areas in order to establish the extent to which design qualities are delivered or compromised in high density urban form. In this way, the study attempts to identify any interrelationships between three factors: urban density, urban layout and urban design quality; and to see whether there is a consensus that higher density is linked to changes in urban layout, and has consequences in terms of urban quality. The work demonstrates that significant changes in morphological pattern such as plot size or control and ownership of open spaces result from higher density design and that there are subsequent impacts on particular design qualities such as overall adaptability or biodiversity of the residential neighbourhood.

The methods of analysis and testing of the theoretical proposition include first, the use of computer simulation of urban tissue prototypes in defined ranges of density; second, testing the acceptability and preferences of design typologies via focus group discussion with designers, developers and potential local users. Finally this research develops a transferable method for defining and measuring design qualities which are important for localities, a method which can be used to evaluate possible emerging urban typologies in high density residential schemes.

Conferences where research has been presented

Annual UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference. September 2014

Other relevant information

My MA dissertation focused on the traditional urban form of Iranian cities particularly the traditional courtyard housing in residential neighbourhoods. The methodology of the research was based on literature review and observing the morphology of the traditional urban form in residential areas to define the main design principles behind these traditional morphologic patterns which have been produced in order to respond to the local environmental and cultural conditions. In the study the identified traditional design principles were adapted in a way to respond to the contemporary condition of Iranian cities and the lifestyle of the local community.

The research demonstrated the implication of traditional Iranian housing typology on the shape of the city and proposed new localised architectural and urban design principles for housing in Iranian cities.