Socio-spatial vulnerability and dilapidated abandoned buildings (Dabs) through the lens of spatial liminality: A case study in Iran

Hamed Tavakoli, Nigel Westbrook, Ehsan Sharifi, Massoomeh Hedayati Marzbali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article explores the association between socio-spatial vulnerability and dilapidated-abandoned buildings (DABs) through the lens of spatial liminality in historic Iranian cities. It deliberates how DABs are accompanied by several deleterious effects, created as a result of modern socio-spatial transformation. An interdisciplinary approach was employed in this study, which recognises limin-ality as a condition of socio-spatial vulnerability applicable to historic cities. In this case, spatial liminality in historic cities has become associated with the in-flux of non-local disadvantaged residents who compete for cheaper housing op-tions while remaining in a state of limbo. The study is quantitative in nature and consists of a questionnaire survey and on-site observation. The investigation was conducted in twelve urban blocks, located in two significant historic cities: Yazd and Kashan. Results demonstrate a significant association between the extent of DABs, the overall distribution of liminal refugees and the proportion of refugee settlements, almost in all sample blocks. Such spatial liminality accompanied by the accumulation of refugees, indicating DABs as liminal urban fabrics that need to be re-utilised while maintaining their heritage value. This study allows practi-tioners, policymakers and academicians to comprehend the revitalisation of historic cities through the lens of spatial liminality and this, in turn, opens up dis-cussion on how urban regeneration methods can inform socio-spatial governing context to move historic cities, out of spatial liminality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-78
Number of pages18
JournalA/Z ITU Journal of the Faculty of Architecture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


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