Kuy-e Kan: The Socio-Political Dimensions of Mass Housing & Lifestyle of the Working Class, in Tehran

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


    Under the American influence between the min 1950s and 1960s, the Iranian government in collaboration with local architects developed one of the most extensive and novel worker-housing programs in the Middle East. As a part of Iranian ‘Second Development Plan’ (1955-62), this program was designed to re-organise traditional family structures for the working class. On the one hand, the plan aimed at changing the every-day life of people and domestic space, re-educating women, and upgrading their roles in the society. On the other hand, the program intended to repulse the spreading Soviet influences in that region. To achieve these objectives, the Iranian Plan Organisation and Bank-e Sakhtemani (Construction Bank) developed a manual of cooperative housing typologies, forming an important instance of transnational planning during the 1960s. This manual outlined regulations for the construction of mass housing, based on the five main climate zones in Iran and on the number of bedrooms in each unit. It also described the spatial codes and regulations that a private firm or an individual would have to follow to get construction permission. Although the manual was so prescriptive that it left limited design scope to practices described by the government, Iranian architects realised a series of worker-housing projects in Tehran, such as Kuy-e Kan (1958-64), Kuy-e Nohom-e Aban (1964-66), and Kuy-e Chaharom-e Aban (1967-69), among which Kuy-e Kan played a distinctive role. Building upon a brief analysis of Western influences such as the President Truman’s ‘Point Four Program’ and the Kennedy doctrine for developing countries, this paper reveals how this prototypical model addressed the local culture and society. Accordingly, this project poses questions about how imported models in a non-western country such as Iran related to matters of continuity with local traditions of space, meaning character and identity of place in worker-housing practices.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016
    EventSAH 2017 Annual International Conference - Glasgow, United Kingdom
    Duration: 7 Jun 201711 Jun 2017


    ConferenceSAH 2017 Annual International Conference
    Abbreviated titleSAH 2017
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


    • non-western modernisation
    • public housing
    • the constrcution manual
    • domestic life
    • local culture
    • transnational planning

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