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Modernizing Yazd. Selective Historical Memory and the Fate of Vernacular Architecture

Series: Bibliotheca Iranica: Urban Planning History of Iranian Cities 1
Availability: In stock
Published: 2006
Page #: xii + 210
Size: 7.5 x 8.5
ISBN: 1-56859-140-3
plates, bibliography, glossary, index, notes

 
$45.00

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Quick Overview

Cities in Iran have witnessed considerable growth over the last few decades. Of the 60 million people recorded in the last national census of 1996, 37 million (i.e., 61%) lived in cities. For some cities, the level of growth has been so rapid that housing shortages in the older neighborhoods have translated to haphazard western-style sub-urbanization. After Qom and Tehran, Yazd, as a province, has become one of the most highly urbanized states in Iran. As of 1996, over 75 percent of the population in the province lived in cities. The city of Yazd itself has grown from a small dusty town of 63,000 residents in 1956 to 330,000 people in 1996. This has introduced a number of problems for which planning solutions have been sought. The result has been a disturbing urban landscape that has gradually lost its physical and social cohesion and has translated, directly or indirectly, to the destruction of many of its older neighborhoods. In many Iranian cities, old neighborhoods gradually meet with misfortune and become the residence of migrants and immigrants. This has meant that some of Iran’s most important vernacular architectural heritage has been placed in the hands of those who can least afford to maintain or repair it. This book explores the appearance and disappearance of Yazd’s traditional neighborhoods and offers an alternative interpretation of urban history in this provincial city.

The narrative begins with a brief history of Yazd and its transformation from the early Islamic period to the 19th century. However, a significant portion of the book focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries, when the emergence of nationalist discourse and the eventual display of modernity affected the urban landscape and its morphological patterns. The dialectical entanglement of identity and modernity produced an urban planning and design process that rearranged the cities and created new social geographies. The book narrates this metamorphosis from the Iranian Constitutional Revolution to the end of the 20th century with an interpretive spatial perspective.
In the last section, the author provides an analysis of the contemporary social geography of Yazd and illustrates the end result of over 100 years of modernist urban planning and the emergence of a socially segregated and architectural incohesive urban landscape. This book is an ode to a fast-disappearing local culture and its urban representation and warns of the outcome of destroying the sense of place that has been eroded under the forces of modernization and imagined nations. With the destruction of the sense of local and planting of the sense of total, the meaning of historical neighborhoods is lost and the importance of monumental architecture is exaggerated. The book concludes with an illustration of how such a loss may have translated to apathy towards the maintenance of vernacular architecture, and as a result, the identity of most cities and their unique historical character is sacrificed.

author

Ali Modarres

Ali Modarres is the Associate Director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles and a Professor at the Department of Geography and Urban Analysis on the same campus. He specializes in urban geography and his primary research and publication interests are community development and planning. He has published in the areas of transportation planning, environmental equity, social geography, immigration, and race and ethnicity as they relate to the issues of access and the role of public policy in creating disadvantaged communities.

Chapter One
Introduction
Chapter Two
Genesis and Myth of Origin
Chapter Three
Historical Evolution of the City (700-1800 A.D.)
Chapter Four
Yazd in the 19th Century
Chapter Five
Modernization, Nationalism, and Identity in the 19th Century
Chapter Six
From Constitutional Revolution to the Emergence of the Pahlavi Regime
Chapter Seven
The Pahlavi Regime and the Urban Process: Spatial
Impact of the 20th Century Nationalism and Modernization
Chapter Eight
Islamic Revolution, Urbanization and the Growth of
Yazd
Chapter Nine
Land Use and the Dilemma of Growth
Chapter Ten
The Emergent Social Geography: Is the Game Lost?
Chapter Eleven
Concluding Remarks

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