Although the 1997 election of Mohammad Khatami as president of Iran is widely considered a political watershed, an intriguing question remains unanswered: Why did such a grassroots intervention not occur earlier? What had changed to unite Iran’s heterogeneous interests and constituencies at this particular historic moment? [1]

Khatami’s election signaled both an acute awareness among key segments of the political elite of a crisis of governmentality [2] and an ongoing process of “urbanization of consciousness” in Iran. [3] Khatami was elected because his reformist and democratic agenda responded to the political demands of a complex and diverse urban society. Over 60 percent of Iran’s population now live in cities. The profound physical and social changes that have taken place since the end of the Iran-Iraq war have reshaped urban space, particularly in the capital, Tehran. Urban society and spaces — streets, public places and neighborhoods; citizens, institutions and leaders; modes of life and expectations — are now the primary milieux in which Iranians live, interact and respond to ongoing socioeconomic and political processes.

The Crisis of Governmentality

The end of the first decade of the revolution coincided with Iran’s final acceptance of a ceasefire in the Iran-Iraq war; the death of Ayatollah Khomeini and the inevitable demise of the utopian phase of the revolution. The First Five-Year Development Plan (1989-1994), [4] formulated in the wake of Rafsanjani’s first presidency, is a revealing document. Replete with alarming statistics about over-population and insufficient infrastructure, the plan is obsessed with questions of population, housing scarcity and the welfare measures required to better integrate the country’s burgeoning population in the absence of Khomeini’s charisma and the war’s mobilizing force.

By drafting this Plan, technocrats were implicitly acknowledging a crisis of governmentality and the end of the rentier state’s golden age. Dwindling revenues, enormous war costs and a mushrooming population rendered untenable the centralized and authoritarian state as well as the practice of monopolizing and redistributing financial revenues from petroleum. The Plan also signaled the fading of a passive, atomized citizenry accustomed to free services in exchange for political quiescence. Without a program for integrating the population into a viable social and political system, Iran would soon be ungovernable. The remarkable transformation of Tehran under the mayorship of Qolahossein Karbaschi during the 1990s demonstrated the success as well as the limitations of the solutions advanced by Rafsanjani’s pragmatists and technocrats. [5]

Karbaschi’s strategy was to launch a bold program of urban renewal while simultaneously integrating Tehran’s fragmented and disillusioned population. Funding would come not from the government, but from “public participations,” a euphemism for a pact between the state (represented by the municipality) and private capital. In exchange for political security of investments for merchants, speculators and developers, the municipality would extract fees and taxes for investment in public projects. The executor of this strategy would be the municipality itself, which required fundamental reform. This alliance between the state and private capital was expected to jump-start the economy, using the construction sector as its engine. Increased employment and housing were to offset further inflationary pressures.

The “Tehran Project”

When Karbaschi came to power in 1990, Tehran’s population of nearly 7 million was growing by more than 100,000 each year, necessitating 20,000 new dwellings annually. [6] Despite its enormous subsidized budget, the municipality needed an immediate infusion of 12 billion tomans [7] to avoid bankruptcy. [8] Only 29 percent of this budget was spent on development work; the rest found its way into the enormous bureaucracy. [9] Municipal services were minimal and mediocre; Tehran was a polluted, spatially fragmented and overcrowded city suffering from horrible traffic and the lack of a coherent architectural or urban master plan. So profound was the crisis that the government was planning a new capital elsewhere at a staggering cost of 2 trillion tomans. [10]

Almost immediately, Karbaschi’s administration transformed the highly centralized municipality’s inflated and unskilled workforce into a lean and motivated instrument. [11] All state subsidies were eliminated within four years, while the municipality’s revenue increased tenfold and its developmental budget grew twenty-fold. [12] More than three fourths of this revenue came from levying new fees on speculative commercial construction and taxes on fixed property. [13] Between 1990 and 1998, the municipality had scooped 1 trillion tomans from Tehran’s economy, investing three fourths of it in the city’s infrastructure and urban fabric. [14]

The municipality planned to collect the tremendous liquid capital floating in Tehran’s speculative (i.e., untaxed and unregulated) economy and redirect it into the construction and physical development sectors. [15] In exchange for steep fees, the municipality bent zoning laws to allow commercial land use in previously forbidden areas and issued construction permits for the subdivision of large plots and the construction of high-rises. [16] The latter, controversial move was justified on the grounds that it would boost the housing supply through increased “vertical density.” Revenues collected were then invested in major urban development and renewal projects, which in turn increased the value of real estate.

Responding to charges of rising inflation, Karbaschi countered that construction redirected capital out of an unproductive services, stimulated linkages to productive sectors and generated employment. In additional, the growing housing supply would reduce real estate prices and curb inflation. [17] Furthermore, the Municipality’s financial independence from the central government would reduce national budgetary pressures and allow scarce funds to be invested in less developed regions.

Whether or not this assessment was sound, the municipality’s activities certainly provided stability to attract the substantial assets circulating in Tehran’s unregulated and speculative circuits. Between 1987 and 1997 private investment in the construction sector increased fifteen-fold, and the number of employees in this sector rose by 80 percent in Tehran alone. [18] As a result of zoning changes, the number of retail and wholesale stores also increased by more than 130 percent, giving Tehran one of the highest store per capita ratios in the world. [19]

While municipal policies indeed increased productive activity in the construction sector, they also encouraged speculation on a much grander scale. It is important to remember that the municipality chose to interpret “popular participation in urban renewal” not as much as an appeal to city residents to accept substantial tax increases, but as a tacit alliance with merchants and land developers — both highly speculative forms of capital. The first option, quite realistic given the ridiculously low city taxes compared to property values, would have radically affected the political relationship between the state and its citizens. The municipality would have had to justify major tax increases to a skeptical citizenry unaccustomed to paying for urban services. The municipality’s accountability to the public would have made Tehran’s urban renewal a radically more participatory process. Fixed property taxes, far more immune to political fluctuations, would have provided a steady source of revenue to the city and might have insulated development projects from being suspended, as they were following Karbaschi’s trial and imprisonment in 1998.

The municipality’s strategy superimposed a new hierarchy of spatializations on Tehran by redistributing resources across the city’s fragmented geography. Tehran’s most symbolic divide has been between its north and south. [20] The city is situated on the spectacular piedmont of the Alborz range. North Tehran is at a higher elevation, the former site of rural farms, summer resorts, fruit orchards and large, wooded estates. It is now mostly middle-class and more affluent, enjoys a better climate, less pollution, large lots and houses and more trees. The lower middle and working-class area of south Tehran is overcrowded, hotter and more polluted, with smaller lots.

To ensure the redistribution of development investment, each of the city’s 20 wards have had to allocate half of their collected revenue to the municipality for macro-, citywide projects. According to one estimate, north Tehran has generated 70 percent of the city’s revenue, so the great bulk of speculative real estate and commercial activity continues to take place in the most affluent sections of the city, where the highest profit rates are to be found.

Table 2 shows the figures for the other half of the budget, allocated regionally to individual wards. These figures imply a more complex pattern of budgetary redistribution than populist rhetoric about taxing the rich to give to the poor might imply. Between 1990 and 1998, north Tehran’s regional budget increased 72 times, while expenditures in the south increased “only” 47 times. Despite this continuing disparity, the scale of new investments is striking. Rather than neglecting the north in favor of the south, the reverse seems to be happening. Yet given the scale of investments and macro-projects in the south, this trend also reveals a pattern of integrating the city’s uneven geography. This policy has also halted the demonization of the north as an affluent, morally lax and Westernized area hostile to Islam and the revolution. By investing heavily in south Tehran and projects that link the two parts of the city, the municipality’s solution to geographic disparity was to improve the south so it would resemble the north.

Transformations of urban space through these ambitious projects also affected social relations, public culture and citizens’ expectations. This led to complex and often unintended results. Listed below are some of the most significant transformations.

1) Political economy of land markets. Financially, the city’s most ambitious undertaking was the Navab Project, based on a plan dating from the 1960s to convert a congested road in a poor southern area into a major north-south boulevard linking the two parts of the city and creating a major commercial-administrative-residential corridor. [21] The political crisis following the arrest of Karbaschi in 1998, however, and the conservative attack on the municipality, plunged the real estate market into a depression that has lasted to this day. [22] This crisis revealed the fragility of the alliances between the municipality and the speculative construction sector. Consequently, some 200 billion tomans of ongoing urban projects ground to a halt, seriously undermining investors’ trust in Iran’s largest publicly financed project. Although the construction slump is part of a general economic recession, the downturn has all the earmarks of a depression in north Tehran, where speculative construction was rampant. [23]

2) Public information. The municipality also began publishing its own newspaper, Hamshahri, which quickly became the country’s most popular daily. Hamshahri’s political significance became clear when it began promoting Mohammad Khatami’s long-shot candidacy in 1997, a bold and confrontational move for which the conservatives never forgave its director, Mayor Karbaschi.

3) Distribution networks. The municipality effectively entered Tehran’s commodity distribution network by establishing nearly 50 produce markets throughout the city and by building two department store chains, organized as joint stock companies with publicly issued shares. [24] These projects were viewed as political challenges to the traditional merchant capital of the bazaar. [25] Department store chains and produce markets were hotly debated political issues in 1995. [26]

4) Public health. Garbage collection has tripled, and 250 kilometers of surface water drainage network was completed. More than 8,000 polluting businesses, including the city’s notorious slaughterhouse, were forced to relocate to five planned industrial sites outside the city’s limits. [27]

5) Transportation networks. The municipality built more than three times as many expressways as were built during Tehran’s entire history. The public transportation fleet grew by 50 percent. These projects have reduced the distance and the fragmentation between the city’s various neighborhoods. [28]

6) Public space. The municipality’s provision of public spaces and facilities had profound repercussions. Northing is more essential for the emergence and continued functioning of modern, democratic, urban society than the availability of public spaces that are neither within the domain of private property interests nor under state control. [29] Post-revolution Tehran had lost nearly all of its public spaces. Symbolic and actual centers, such as university campuses, main streets, squares and mosques, had been colonized by exclusionary Islamist politics. Meanwhile, speculative economic ventures and unregulated urban growth patterns had undermined Tehran’s historic fabric. Perhaps the most troubling consequence of Tehran’s authoritarian “Islamization” was gender segregation and a resulting masculinization of public space.

In 1992, Karbashi inaugurated the Bahman Culture Complex (BCC) in the heart of south Tehran on the former site of the notorious slaughterhouse. The symbolism could not have been more compelling. At one stroke, the city’s poorest and most deprived neighborhoods, built next to an environmental disaster area, now shared space with the country’s most advanced cultural complex. Surrounded by landscaped parks, [30] the complex seems removed from its surroundings, yet it is a space of inclusion rather than exclusion. [31] The pleasantly sprawling, campus-like BCC began presenting film series and concerts and regularly offered classes in computer skills, calligraphy, music instruction, aerobics and religion, often taught voluntarily by famous artists and craftsmen. Newly constructed beltways and expressways have facilitated access to the complex from any point in the city. Almost immediately, BCC became a popular place to read, learn, exercise and socialize. For the first time there was something attractive to visit in south Tehran, reversing the city’s usual northward flow of movement. Within four years, the municipality had built 138 cultural facilities, 27 sports centers and had turned 1,300 vacant lots into neighborhoods sports fields. More than half of these facilities were in south Tehran. It also initiated athletic events that had attracted 2.5 million participants by 1997. [32]

The impact of these institutions on young people [33] and most gender relations has been especially profound. Most people suing these facilities are under the age of 30, and 65 percent of participants in educational programs have been women. [34] The legitimate availability of cultural and leisure activities previously limited to affluent classes has encouraged a widespread assimilation of middle-class norms and values among the younger generation. [35]

The construction of three-and-a-half times as many parks as existed previously has had a similarly profound aesthetic, symbolic and social impact. These parks are well attended day and night, mostly by young men and women of all social classes. The casual intermingling of the sexes, a recent phenomenon, is clearly more tolerated here than in controlled venues such as universities, schools and government offices. New public spaces are less subject to restrictive policing by powerful disciplinary institutions of socialization, namely the state, the local community and the family.

Supporters of the municipality lauded these projects, precisely because they introduced marked cultural and behavioral alternatives for less affluent Tehranis. Karbaschi acknowledged that the introduction of modern cultural practices was an explicit goal of the municipality. Nonetheless, the aim was not to “Westernize” youth, but to protect them from unregulated and corrupting behavioral models and influences. Still, conservative objections that young people go to parks and cultural centers to “hang around” with the opposite sex, as well as to get away from their families, may be valid. [36] After all, open access to spaces free of family and community policing is a precondition of the emergence of the modern, autonomous, urban individual. [37] Tehran’s new public spaces are de-masculinized; they normalize the secular and individualized norms of the modern middle class and convert such norms into actual needs and expectations.

It is not only the “lower classes” whose social relations, cultural practices and values — in short, their urban life — have been transformed by new possibilities. Middle-class “northerners” have also begun to rely on these public spaces, although for this group, changing spatial practices arise primarily from the material constraints of apartment living. The historic pattern of domestic architecture in Iran has been centered on the single-family home with a yard, high walls to assure privacy and many rooms to house extended families and host large gatherings. In recent years, however, economic and demographic pressures have encouraged apartment living instead. The municipality’s policy of allowing vertical constructions at any height above the three-story norm in exchange for substantial fees led to an explosion of high-rise construction, especially in the north where profit rates are significantly higher. [38] Consequently, Tehran’s symbolic division into two parts has been visually recreated by the city’s radically different skylines. In 1992, 20 percent of all building permits issued in Tehran’s were for buildings over four stories. In 1997, this figure had risen to 64 percent. [39]

Apartment living imposes a different lifestyle and encourages a nuclear, rather than extended, family arrangement. It also deprives residents of the private courtyard, another organic element of indigenous architecture. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, this means both the loss of an integral space of family life, as well as the only place where a woman can enjoy the open air free of her hejab. The ultimate irony is that the middle-class women flocking to high-rise apartments are predominantly secular, and therefore tend to regard the hejab as an imposed burden. Apartment life deprives them of the private space to go without manteau or scarf.

Although middle-class apartment buyers are attracted by the prestige and quality of Tehran’s northern neighborhoods, famed for their large gardens and open spaces, high-rise apartment buildings are converting the north’s orchards and lawns into paved parking lots. Residents of northern neighborhoods are rapidly losing the very spatial qualities that first attracted them to this area. Their alternative is to frequent the new public spaces provided by the municipality.

After nine years of development and change, Tehran is no longer recognizable. But the changes are not merely physical. The production of new urban spaces had added layers of complexity to social life, the implication of which have just begun to register in the world of politics and power relations. Regardless of the conscious intentions of the social actors who initiated these changes, and aside from the outcome of the current political struggle between competing factions of the Islamic regime, Iranian society will not be the same again. No political force can deny the emergency of a new social actor: the urban citizen of Iran.

Author’s Note: I would like to acknowledge Abdolali Rezaei, Parviz Piran, Zarir Merat and Norma Moruzzi for their helpful and incisive comments on various stages of this paper.


[1] See Kaveh Ehsani, “Islam, Modernity and National Identity,” Middle East Insight (July/August 1995) and Abdolali Rezaei and Abbas Abdi, eds., Entekhab-e No (Tehran: Tarh-e No, 1998).
[2] “Governmentality,” a concept about modern governance, includes the processes of understanding and (self-)regulating populations. See Graham Burchell, et al, eds., The Foucault Effect (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).
[3] See David Harvey, Consciousness and the Urban Experience (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995).
[4] See Kaveh Ehsani, “Tilt But Don’t Spill: Iran’s Development and Reconstruction Dilemma,” Middle East Report 191 (1993), pp. 16-21.
[5] Gholamhossein Karbaschi and several other sub-mayors of Tehran were arrested in 1998 on charges of corruption. Despite the revelation that some had been tortured to elicit confessions, the appeal process was rejected and several, including Karbaschi, were sent to jail in the spring of 1999. Karbaschi’s televised trial became the most closely watched television program in Iran, seriously undermining the legitimacy of the judiciary. It was widely perceived that Karbaschi was being punished for his open support of Mohammad Khatami’s presidential bid against the regime’s candidate, Speaker of the House Nateq-Nuri.
[6] Space considerations preclude a full analysis of Tehran’s growing suburbs, satellites and new planned cities.
[7] During the period under discussion, the (unofficial) exchange rate has fluctuated between 90 and 850 tomans to one US dollar.
[8] According to Morteza Tabatabaee, former mayor of Tehran, the city’s subsidized budget was twice the combined annual budgets of Khorasan and Western Azerbaijan, two of Iran’s largest provinces. See Ettelaat Siasi-Eqtesadi 24 (1989), p. 62.
[9] Hamshahri, Ketab-e Sal 1376 (Tehran: Hamshahri Publications, 1999) p. 405.
[10] Gholamhossein Karbaschi, Mohakemeh va Defa’ (Tehran: Farhang-o Andisheh, 1998), p. 150. At the unofficial exchange rate of the time, this would have been worth approximately $20 billion.
[11] Tehran Municipality, Tahavol-e Edari dar Shahr-e Tehran (Tehran, 1997); and Mirahmad Amirshahi et al, “Eslah-e Modiryat-e Bakhsh-e Omoumi,” in Hamshahri Ketab-e Sal 1376, p. 402. Some 80 percent of the workforce was passed on to a private, semi-private joint ventures and subcontractors. The municipality subdivided its many units, and administered these according to commercial and financially autonomous principles. Karbaschi and his supporters, including Rafsanjani, have emphasized that the municipality’s success was due to the cadre of competent top managers. Therefore, attacking the municipality’s record was tantamount to attacking competent mangers.
[12] Until 1997 there was an average annual growth rate of 32 percent, with the share of development budgets remaining between 63 and 83 percent of total budget. Center for Budget and Statistics, Tehran Municipality, various years.
[13] The other quarter comes from municipal facilities, traffic violations and taxes on commercial establishments.
[14] Gholamhossein Karbaschi, Akharin Defa’ (Tehran: Farhang-o Andisheh, 1998), pp. 185, 187; Tehran Municipality, Tahavol-e Edari dar Shah-e Tehran (1997), pp. 124-38; Hamshahri, February 2, 1999 and May 3, 1999.
[15] Karbaschi, Akharin Defa’, p. 183.
[16] Sohrab Mashhoudi, “Boland martabeh sazi dar Tehran,” Me’mari va Shahsazi 36/37 (1998), p. 109-107; and Karbaschi, Mohakemeh va Defa’, pp. 332-339.
[17] Karbaschi, Akharin Defa’, pp. 182-3. It is a questionable argument, since supply has never approximated real demands estimates, while prices have continued to climb above the reach of ordinary citizens.
[18] Ministry of Housing and Urbanism, Tarh-e Majmou-e Shahri Tehran va Shahrha-ye Atraf-e An (Tehran: 1998); Eqtesad-e Iran 4 (1999), pp. 49-51.
[19] Babak Dorbeygui, “Forushgah-haye Zanjireyi-e Refah,” Goft-o Gu 13 (1997), p. 23.
[20] See Tehran Municipality, Ostokhanbandi-e Shahr-e Tehran (Tehran, 1997); Masserat Amir-Ebrahimi, “L’image socio-geographique de Teheran en 1986,” in C. Adle and B. Hourcade, eds., Tehran: Capital Bicentenaire (Paris and Tehran: IFRI), pp. 267-280. By “north Tehran,” I mean wards 1-8 of the city, above the east-west axis of Azadi-Enqelab avenues. This is only a rough division, given the great diversity of the city’s different regions.
[21] Hamshahri, February 22, 1999. Invoking the right of eminent domain, the municipality purchased adjacent properties at good market value. To fund the project, the city forged a partnership with banks and the public, issuing public bonds at 20 percent interest. To attract local participation, it gave local residents and bond-holders priority rights to purchase the improved properties. See Payam-e Emrooz, “Owraq-e Mosharekat Melli: Ebham dar Qavanin Ebham dar Ejra’,” 15 (1997), p. 26.
[22] The link between the inter-factional political conflict and the urban economy has been made explicit by both the pragmatic and the left factions. See Morteza Alviri, “Karbaschi’s Trial Harmed the Economy by 700BT,” Tous, May 24, 1998. [Persian] Alviri, a vice president at the time, has replaced Karbaschi as mayor of Tehran. See also Neshat, May 4, 1999 and Karbaschi, Akharin Defa’, pp. 180-3.
[23] Whereas apartment prices decreased by 1.5 percent in 1998 (a rarity in this chronically high-demand sector), the satellite city of Karaj experienced a rise of 8-18 percent. In Tehran itself, however, the effects were markedly uneven. Wards 1 and 3, the most affluent northern wards, experienced a -0.3 percent fall, while southern wards 15-17 saw an increase in apartment prices of 7-15 percent, indicating a much steadier real estate market.
[24] By eliminating most middlemen, these produce outlets soon dominated more than 63 percent of the daily market, as their prices were 30-50 percent lower than those of shopkeepers and independent merchants. See Hamshahri, Ketab-e Sal 1376, pp. 718-21.
[25] They were not far off the mark. This was the title of an article in Hamshahri, January 30, 1995, at the height of the raging debate about the topic in the press.
[26] “It was evident that the planned establishment of chain stores, a necessity in modern urban life, was an essential political instrument for the government to control the price and distribution network of commodities, one of the most important elements of social and political stability.” Babak Dorbeygui, “Forushgah-haye Zanjire-yee Refah,” Goft-o-Gu 13 (1996), p. 24.
[27] See Ketab-e Sal 1376, pp. 708-11. Karbaschi offered the city’s garbage collectors regular monthly medical checkups and other benefits, as well as annual dinner parties at five-star hotels. This constituted yet another charge of extravagance at his trial. See Karbaschi, Mohakemeh va defa’, p. 151. See also Hamshahri, February 21, 1999; Sobh-e Emrouz, February 16, 1999; and Tehran Municipality, Unesco Mayor for Peace Prize (Tehran, 1996).
[28] See Tehran Municipality, Tahavol-e Edari dar Shahr-e Tehran (Tehran, 1997), pp. 130-34; and Tehran Municipality, Unesco Mayor for Peace Prize.
[29] Examples may include airways where information is disseminated, parks where different social groups intermingle, squares where protests take place, sidewalks where fashions and behaviors are displayed and imitated, neighborhoods where local identities and loyalties are shaped, cultural centers where art and culture are experienced and appreciated, or meeting halls where citizens argue about urban policies. As in all discussions of public space I am indebted here to Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York: Random House, 1961). On the loss of American public space to private corporate capital see Margret Crawford’s seminal essay, “The World in a Shopping Mall,” in Michael Sorkin, ed., Variations on a Theme Park (New York: Hill and Wang, 1992).
[30] It houses exhibition halls, theaters, concert halls, restaurants, cafes, a library, a gymnasium, sauna, swimming pool, chess rooms, museums, classrooms and a skating rink.
[31] In contrast with barricaded and ghettoized public spaces in American cities, such as Los Angeles or New York. See Mike Davis’ analysis of the belligerent public architecture of Los Angeles, especially chapter 3 of City of Quartz (London: Verso, 1990).
[32] Including another eight major cultural complexes, 46 smaller “Neighborhoods Culture Houses,” 21 art centers and galleries, and 21 public libraries.
[33] The adjacent southern city wards 17, 18 and 19 have the youngest populations in Tehran (35 percent of the total population are students). See Alireza Shayanmard, Ettelaat Eqtesadi va Ejtema’i Iran va Jahran (Tehran: Avay-e Nour, 1998).
[34] Unesco Mayor for Peace Corps Prize; Hamshahri, “Bahman Culture Complex, Special Issue,” n.d. A fascinating study of the BCC argues that “Bahman’s greatest impact has been on the lives of women of the city’s south. Women of this area were leading more secluded lives within the home…. Life outside the house and neighborhood was considered impermissible. As a result, their work and leisure were confined to housework or ‘traditional activities’ with the family, relatives and neighbors. Movement elsewhere in the city was permissible only with a valid reason, or if accompanied by the man of the house…. These limitations extended to work outside the home as well…. With the establishment of culture complexes across the city, and especially in the south…the way was opened for women to participated in modern urban social life without being forced to leave their family space.” See Masserat Amir-Ebrahimi, “The Impact of Bahman Cultural Complexes on the Social and Cultura Life of Tehran’s Women and Youth,” Goft-o-Gu 9 (Fall 1995), pp. 23-24. [Persian] [35] Ibid., pp. 24-25.
[36] See, for example, Farmarz Rafipoor, Tose’eh va Tazad (Tehran: Enteshar Publishers, 1998), p. 255.
[37] See Jacques Donzelot, La police des familles (Paris: Minuit, 1977) and Wilhelm Reich, Sex-Pol (New York: Random House, 1972).
[38] See Mashhoudi, “Boland Martabe Sazi dar Tehran,” p. 110; and the journal Abadi’s “Special Issue on High Rises,” 5/18 (Fall 1995).
[39] Tehran Municipality, Karname Shahradri (Tehran, various years); Mojtaba Taleqani, “Shahraha-ye Jadid dar Arse Reqabat,” Abadi 29/31 (Spring 1999), p. 8. Despite this boom, the vast majority of buildings are still between four to six stories. In 1997, only 0.2 percent of all properties in Tehran were over 10 stories high, making the city one of the flattest metropolises in the world. See the special issue of the journal Shahrsazi va Me’mari 36/37 (1998), p. 109; Karbaschi, Mohakemeh va Defa’, p. 331.

How to cite this article:

Kaveh Ehsani "Municipal Matters," Middle East Report 212 (Fall 1999).

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