The Wrong City in the Making; the Case of Tehran's District 22

Photographs used for this image production taken by Mohsen Ataei (April 2018), and Razieh Rahnama (April 2019)

My talk on Tehran's District 22 urban fiasco delivered as part of the panel 'City and Urban Visuality' in Symposia Iranica's Fourth Biennial Iranian Studies Conference, Divinity Theatre, University of St Andrews, 14 April 2019. 


On August 30th, 2000, Tehran gave birth to her last offspring, District 22. Spreading over northwest Tehran, it was largely a carte blanche, aimed to be an exemplary model for sustainable development; a beacon of urban planning for the capital. Two decades in the making, the urban scene of District 22 is, arguably, a failure of city design; a mishmash of fruitless, desolated, dispersed satellite towns, centered upon an ill-conceived artificial lake veneer. It is literally a reproduction of Pruitt–Igoe in a massive scale, half a century after its demolition. (Re)reading Peter Hall’s Cities of Tomorrow, and Henri Lefebvre’s The Right to the City, this work critically analyses the urban and architectural vocabulary of the District, revealing how and why a complex conglomeration of stakeholders has wasted a great opportunity to deliver a liveable urban environment. It will also discuss the potential strategies that may help to reduce the damage.

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