Tehran [paradox city]

by agnes s.

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City of the Shahs

“This pattern remained unchanged, and the city itself quite stagnant, until the second half of the 19th century, when Naser Eddin Shah extended the city walls and ditches. The main motivations for this were the need to integrate the growing numbers of “outsiders” — not only migrant poor but also elite Persians and foreigners — and to control riots, which would frequently erupt in protest at bread shortages. But the works were also partly inspired by a vision of a “modern city” derived from Baron Haussmann, whose ideas spread at this time from Paris to the Middle East, and were adopted by Khedive Ismail in Cairo and the Ottoman rulers in Istanbul. However, expansion did little to alter the underlying mahalleh system. Social inequality within the various quarters persisted, and was reinforced by a speculative land market in the early 20th century.”

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