Neighborhood spaces are regarded as the main arenas for women’s social interactions. Thus, women should be completely comfortable in these spaces. Nonetheless, some studies have indicated that women’s presence and activities in such spaces are both prevented or decreased, and accordingly gendered space is established. Gendered spaces play a significant role in gender identity and roles. Thus, it is necessary to identify the factors which formed various spaces. It seems that physical factors which make spaces non-responsive for women, along with socio-cultural factors such as attitudes and social norms can influence women’s activities and their presence in neighbourhood spaces. To better understand this phenomenon, this paper reports on a study of two neighborhoods in Tehran, Iran: Imamzadeh Yahya, which is governed by dominant religious norms and the Zargandeh neighbourhood, where modern, non-traditional norms dominate. In order to evaluate physical and social factors, observations and semi-structured interviews were employed. First, the researchers recorded the type of women’s activities and presence in formal, public streets in the selected neighborhoods throughout the day, in the morning, afternoon and evening. Collected data were analyzed data using qualitative methods. Subsequently, 20 women’s personal narratives from each neighborhood were collected and analyzed. The results indicated that both physical and socio-cultural factors play a significant role in the times of women’s presences, the types of activities they engaged in and specific places where women gathered. In addition, observations indicated that the expression of social norms about gender identity prevented women from gathering in the neighborhoods in traditional spaces. In Imamzadeh, the presence of men who accepted traditional women’s roles such as motherhood lead to a decrease in women’s presence. However, the reverse results were obtained in the modern space.

Author Biography

Maryam Mohammadi: Assistant Professor of Art University: Since joining the Art University (2013), I have been involved with researches related to themes of semantics and identity, the themes of my PhD thesis. Approximately one year ago I founded “Urban Morphology Lab” in the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism and concentrated on this issue. Before 2013, I worked part time with Art University and worked as researcher and designer with Farnahad Company. I should mention that my MA thesis was about women’s problems, so one of my research interests in Women’s Studies. Art University, Tehran, Iran

Arezoo Rafiee graduated with a Master’s degree from the Art University, Tehran: I’ve obtained my Master’s degree in Urban Design in the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, focusing in my thesis on the presence of women in cities. Thus, Women’s Studies became one of my research interests.