Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Urban Planning -,Central Tehran Branch-Islamic Azad University

2 Department of Urban Planning, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 Faculty of Architecture & Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University



Color has always been a part of describing experiences and memories of people and landscapes. Achromaticity in urban spaces can affect aspects such as memorability and can lead to diminished mental images, challenging the perceptive quality of inhabitants consequently.On this basis, experiencing the vitality of colors in cities can improve the quality of urban spaces. Despite the importance of color in people’s perception of urban spaces, few studies have investigated the understanding of chromaticity in such areas. This gap widens in developing countries, such as Iran with extensive construction in its urban areas.
Materials and Methods:
In this study, interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used as a qualitative approach to provide accurate examination of personal life experience of urban color perception in order to discover the nature of the lived experience of human understanding of color without any previously prescribed theoretical premise. For this purpose, in-depth interviews were carried out to obtain individuals’ perceptions of color in urban spaces of Tehran, Iran .Eleven experts in urban planning and development and architecture were selected through snowball sampling. The interviews were then analyzed in MAXQDA 2020, which yielded four main themes.
Results and Discussion:
The interaction between the following four themes—i.e., 1) diminished color palette in modern constructions in Iranian cities, 2) attempt to embed colors in urban spaces, 3) colorful life in urban spaces, and, 4) attachment to colorful environments—underlined the color perception of Tehran’s urban spaces in two themes. The first theme was chromophilia that increased place attachment (boosting quality of the environment), and the second was chromophobia that reduced place attachment (ignoring improved quality of space and its preservation). Chromophobia can result in paleness, mattness, and grayness of the general aspect of color in the metropolises of Iran, particularly, in Tehran. The fading of local color can cause diminution of variety of colors and visual annoyance, which has led to diminished connection and attachment of the city and urban spaces to Tehran. Another finding emphasized using of color in improving attachment and belonging, influenced by environmental context and the formal and color landscape of cities (as well as climate, nature, function, and economy), to indicate principles such as spatial unity, eligibility, mystification, variety, citizens’ presence in a context where participation is based on the needs of different demographic-social groups. This could be presented as feedback on the process of chromophilia in Iran.
Our study has both strengths and limitations. The first strength was conducting qualitative research, which offers many advantages and complements the existing quantitative analysis on using color in urban spaces. Secondly, by gathering data from various experts in the design sector, who may have the experience and information about color in urban spaces, this study provides a deeper understanding of reasons for encouragement and rejection of color in public spaces.
Using color could encourage social life and place attachment to urban spaces and it could improve population health, particularly, the mental health. The results of the study can add up to the tacit knowledge of urban planners, designers, managers to attract citizen participation in improving the quality of urban spaces.
perception of the phenomenon of color, chromophile & chromophobia, urban space, interpretative phenomenological analysis, Tehran.