The Effects of Cultural Background and Past Usage on Iranian- Australians’ Appreciation of Urban Parks and Aesthetic Preferences
To understand how newcomers and established immigrants perceive cultural landscapes that have been imbued with a nationality’s cultural meanings and heritage, exploring the cultural background and landscape myths and values of that immigrants’ community can be a starting point. Examining whether immigrants perceive or prefer those values in a new landscape setting requires a wider understanding of immigrants’ activities, preferences, and expectations.
The present paper aims to investigate how Australian urban park landscape settings may be perceived by Iranian immigrants in terms of having aesthetic attributes, and how they use these spaces. It approaches the issue of immigration and park experiences through seeking the links between park settings and the way immigrants see and interpret them based on their cultural, social, and geographical backgrounds. It particularly focuses on Iranian immigrants and Iran’s cultural landscape to explore different views of constructed natural landscapes and their effects on park usage and aesthetic preferences.
This study explores how the icons of Iranian cultural landscape (Persian garden), urban park design, and past park use patterns of these immigrants may mediate interactions with new park environments, and how they may contribute to evoke a ‘sense of aesthetic’. It applies survey questionnaire, semi-structured indepth individual interview, and Q methodology with photographs as research methods, and employs theories of ‘place’ and ‘landscape visual characters’ to explore park usage and aesthetic preferences in both contexts: Iran and Australia.
Findings of this study highlight the preference of undertaking ‘passive activities’ in urban park landscapes by Iranian research participants and demonstrate that they highly admire the aesthetic and picturesque aspects of Australian park landscapes. However, they miss the characteristics of Iran’s parks as well as the recreational, social, and sporting activities they used to carry out there.
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