The concept of place has long been considered an issue of importance for sociology, anthropology, and human geography. Geography begins with human beings and will not exist without human activities and their effects on the Earth’s surface. Humanistic geographers believe that place is a part of the geographic space occupied by someone or something in which perceived values are manifested. Studying the concept of place begins with the distinction between space and place. Sociology and human geography experts believe that space is made up of the material and human-made environment as well as the natural environment, and with the meaning added by individuals, groups or culturalprocesses, it changes into place. Since human geography examines the relations among human communities andbetween these communities and their environment, it can identify social patterns dominant in them. Definitely human communities cannot function properly in providing their memberswith a social identification without planning and providing rich and well-defined facilities tailored to their needs, up-to-date values and requirements. Therefore, considering the enormous and comprehensive transformations of the Information Age and the necessity of aligning with this global movement on one hand, and the importance of the meaning as one of the most important qualitative variables of urban spaces, exploring and recognizing the effects of cyberspace on the perception, sense of attachment and belonging to a place are of special importance. Therefore,studying factors influencing the meaning of place is necessary to improve the quality of urban space. In fact, meaning of place is aninternal emotion individual feels toward a place formed by the interaction of different factors. Many studies have been performed on the meaning of place some of which consider meaning as an inherent characteristic of the place, and others believe that meaning is induced by the individual in different circumstances. In fact, meaning is created by presence in the place and our perception of it. The continuity of space-based experiences formed by motor system, and the recognition and perception of space creates a sense of satisfaction for people in contact with the place. Therefore, the quality of urban spaces can be improved by creation ofmeaningful spaces based on appropriate space-based rules, measures and disciplines. To reach this aim, we need to investigate and realize factors influencing perceptions of place by its residents. Thus, we must inevitably understand changes in and influences ofthe values, attitudes and demands of society. Nowadays, we are witnessing rapid changes in cities which seems to reduce the effectiveness of old ideas and assumptions about urban development, planning, and management, and subsequently, question accepted concepts about the nature of space, place, time, distance and processes of urban life. The advent of the Information Age achievements has redefined space and provided us with a new experience of space. Cyberspace is considered as the main axis of development in the world, and its achievementshave different effects on various dimensions of human life. Thus,Cyberspace is replacing the real world in a way. Undoubtedly, these changes in different dimensions of human lifeare influencing the perception of space. The present study seeks to evaluate the effect of Cyberspace usage time in different users on the physical, personal, social and functional components of the meaning of space and their defining indices in urban spaces. In this study, we believe that users of this environmenthave a different understanding of their space, place, and face different dimensionsof space based on their usage time, and thus, perceive the meaning of urban space differently.
Materials & Methods
In order to answer the main question of the study, “How does the use of cyberspace affect the perception of meaning in traditional and modern urban spaces?”, Thus, the effect of cyberspace usage on defining components of perception including physical, individual, social and functional components was investigated. A traditional urban space (Imam Square) and a modern urban space (City Center) was selected as the study area in Isfahan and the statistical samplespresent in these places were studied. Correlationalresearch method was used. The statistical tests of Kolmogorov-Smirnov regression and Pearson correlation were used to determine the relationshipbetween independent and dependent variables, and its intensity and direction.
Results indicate that using cyberspace increasesthe users’ understanding of the meaning of place while being present in urban spaces.In this regard, the incremental effect on the four factors, the degree of correlation and the impact of cyberspace usage on the components of meaning has been extracted and analyzed in two traditional and modern urban spaces.