Social Sustainability in Urban Design and the Role of Local Governments
The rapid changes in urban life in 20th century have altered the spaces in cities which required great adaptation despite of its lack of ability. Within the increased awareness of limited resources and capacity of the earth, the new challenges for urban spaces become not only to create environmentally and economically sustainable cities, but also to supply the fundamentals for social sustainability. As the concerns of social sustainability rest beyond the individual quality of life, it covers the collective functioning of the society. In spite of the increasing awareness on the concept of social sustainability, the studies on defining theoretical and methodological fundamentals are prescribed by the base on the context-dependent approaches. Although many studies are attempted to define the basics of the social issues, they are influenced by the interpretations of the concept which varies according to differences of philosophical and political ideas. Social sustainability has a great potential to be used as a foundation for decision making about interventions and investments in the cities for local governments. However, its efficacy as a planning tool may depend on how it is perceived and enacted in practice beyond its great capacity. So, it is crucial to understand the different aspects and thematic areas of social sustainability in order to comprise the role of local governments. As the social sustainability evolves from traditional themes such as social equality, human rights, social justice to contemporary themes such as quality of life, identity, sense of place, attachment, safety and social interaction, it is seen that local governments have many responsibilities within their administrative boundaries to perform it. The study aims to reveal social sustainability aspects in urban context which are subject to interest of local governments directly or indirectly. The physical and non-physical factors that affect the social equity and sustainability of community are introduced as a framework for urban operations in considering the role of local governments.