United Nation’s Development Programme UNDP invited SPIN Unit to analyse the most important urban park of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. This report presents the outcome of our analysis on the historic Circular Park, based on multiple geo- referenced data sources and advanced spatial analysis tools. Our analysis is aimed to help the forthcoming work on sustainable urban design and socially meaningful placemaking of the Circular Park and the historic centre of Yerevan.
Reading the city through activity
The link between the physical aspects of the urban form and the clustering of city functions contributes to create a specific type of urban life (Crooks et al., 2015; Kropf, 1996).
Urban activity together with other factors —i.e. social preferences and urban morphology— have a significant impact on the perceived character of neighborhoods (Cranshaw et al., 2012; Kropf, 1996). In fact, ‘the availability and easy access to the range of goods and services that provide for residents’ necessities and amenities give neighborhoods a sense of place and identity (Mehta and Mahato, 2018). Indeed, at a cognitive and perceptual levels, neighborhood units are largely defined by the association of spatial features to socio-economic and behavioral aspects (Kropf, 1996; Lynch, 1960).
Complementary distribution of non-matching clusters of Optional and Necessary Activities create linear flow between hotspots making the park stand as a connection between the popular areas of optional and necessary activities.
Social activeness and liveliness tend to gather along certain main streets (marked in orange). Three of those streets continue having high levels of activity at both sides of the Circular Garden.
Consequently, reported activity levels at the inner park (blue circles), in the north side of the Circular Garden are considerably higher than in the south, where streets have high levels of activeness at the west side of the park, and not at the east.
The Edge effect
The nature of the northern half of the area differs from the south. The north is characterized by a high concentration of activities, venues and services, all supplied by an accessible public transportation network creating a consistent dialogue between east and west sides of the park, as activity types complete each other. On the other hand, the southern area presents a much lower density of activities, lower accessibility to public transport, and higher level of car traffic resulting in higher level of air pollution.
These difference in not morphological but rather socio-spatial layers could more likely be reflected at a perceptual level creating a noticeable “edge” effect separating north from south.