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Tehran’s Decentralization Project: a Lasting Heritage of the 20th Century

Year: 1398
Language: EnglishView: 350
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Elmira Jafari - The Department of Architecture, The Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands


Tehran has neither characteristics of a polycentric city nor a mono-centric one. This paper addresses the complexity of Tehran’s urban structure by tracing it back to the radical transformation of the city in the mid-twentieth century; at the time when decentralization was introduced by Western advisors and became a panacea to accelerate national growth and to decrease the pressure on the capital. Since the 1960s and by the emphasis of the third and fourth national development plans, the policy of decentralization reflected in successive urban plans provided for Tehran. Based on archival research and a flourishing literature of secondary sources, the paper explores how certain values and ideologies of decentralisation and Tehran’s urban reforms interacted in mutually transformative ways. The paper examines two leading urban plans: the first comprehensive plan prepared by Abdolziz Farmanfarmaian and Victor Gruen in 1968; and the Action Plan provided by the Greek planner, Constantinos Doxiadis, and EMCO consulting engineers in 1972. Despite distinct positions, both plans shared the urgent need of decentralization of population and accumulated services, and contributed to the excessive expansion of urban infrastructures as well as land consumerism in Tehran. Arguably, they became a spatial remedy to move people further away from the problems of the inner city and led to the emergence of an extended metropolis with fragmented spatial distribution of activities. In turn, investigating these modern urban projects demonstrates the extent to which Tehran’s decentralization project contributed to the secularization of the society by diminishing the dominance of the historical (religious) city centre


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Jafari, Elmira,1398,Tehran’s Decentralization Project: a Lasting Heritage of the 20th Century,International Conference on Conservation of 20th Century Heritage from Architecture to Landscap,Tehran,

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