Visualising urban redevelopment: Photovoice as a narrative research method for investigating redevelopment processes and outcomes

Goran Erfani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


The use of participatory visual methods has gained significant momentum in visual, urban, planning, and geography research. This article provides methodological understanding of how the photovoice method can contribute to urban redevelopment studies, particularly for producing and narrating interpretive data on the processes and outcomes of urban redevelopment. Photovoice as participant-generated photographs was used to explain and explore the individual experience of involvement in redevelopment projects within selected urban areas in Tehran. Resident research participants captured photographs representing the area and the places within them, and were then individually interviewed in-depth about the significance of the photographs and their own experiences. Other stakeholders, including developers and local authorities, were also interviewed. A total of 36 interviews and 65 photovoice contributions were thematically analysed.

Within the urban redevelopment context, photovoice is a multi-faceted resource that can verify the processes and outcomes of urban change. Using this method enabled the scrutiny of the tangible and intangible meanings that the research participants attached to their entities—objects, places, communities, and practices—revealing a certain set of power relations and patterns of controls in urban redevelopment processes. The findings demonstrate the utility and application of photovoice in understandings of place making and heritage value, as well as those of visual narratives of spatial transformation, and residents’ perceptions and attachment. The study also discusses the particular epistemic and methodological limitations of photovoice within the urban redevelopment context, including the research process, its potential, and associated challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-90
Number of pages11
Early online date4 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


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