Iran’s Global Petroleumscape: The Role of Oil in Shaping Khuzestan and Tehran

Carola Hein, Mo Sedighi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)
    395 Downloads (Pure)


    Various constellations of oil actors—including corporations and nations—have shaped seemingly disconnected and geographically distant landscapes, cities, and buildings around the world over the last 150 years. Corporate, public, and popular media have publicized these cycles of spatializing oil. Together, construction and representation have created what is here collectively identified as a global palimpsestic petroleumscape. Based on archival research and a flourishing literature of secondary sources, this article applies the concept of the petroleumscape to two case studies in Iran and identifies two patterns of spatializing oil. First, in the southern region of Khuzestan, it tracks Iran’s modern transformation under the influence of British Petroleum (BP) (1901–1951), when oil and governmental interests built a complete support landscape. Then, in the capital Tehran, it investigates how US players helped shape the petroleumscape between 1953 and 1979, in line with US styles of consumption, car use, and urban development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)349-374
    JournalArchitectural Theory Review (online)
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Commodity flows
    • globalization
    • Iran
    • Khuzestan
    • oil modernity
    • petroleumscape
    • Tehran
    • urban form


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