Planning a Revolution: Labour Movements and Housing Projects in Tehran, 1943-1963

Hamed Khosravi

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When life itself becomes a political project, any distinction between space of action and dwelling ceases to exist. This differentiation indeed is tended to neutralise the life itself. The emergence of such forms of life has progressively eroded the strict division between public and private space, between the space of living and space of political action. The city becomes at the same time a continuous field of exteriorised publicity and a sequence of autonomous, privatised interiors. Tehran is a paradigmatic case of the latter phenomenon; the house is the place where all the economic, political, social, theological and class conflicts are deployed. In Tehran, parallel to the Post- World War II political movements (1943-63), the immediate need for massive reconstruction not only resulted in developing new construction techniques and planning regulations, but also paved the way for direct implementation of series of political projects. Those attempts are commonly seen as political projects to instrumentalise new technology and modernist architectural and planning principles in order to tame the socio-political tensions. However the paper tends to read the first post- WWII housing projects in Tehran as instruments of social and political mobilisation, through which the city’s working class and middle-class re-established their social and spatial autonomy, through a dialectical process of action and resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHistory Urbanism Resilience
Subtitle of host publicationThe Urban Fabric
EditorsCarola Hein
PublisherTU Delft Open
ISBN (Print)978-94-92516-09-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event17th IPHS Conference History-Urbanism-Resilience - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 17 Jul 201621 Jul 2016

Publication series

NameInternational Planning History Society Proceedings
ISSN (Print)2468-6948
ISSN (Electronic)2468-6956


Conference17th IPHS Conference History-Urbanism-Resilience
Internet address


  • Tehran
  • social movement
  • housing project
  • post-WWII
  • Tudeh Party
  • Chaharsad Dastgah
  • Kuy-e Narmak
  • Kuy-e Nazi Abad

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    Khosravi, H. (2016). Planning a Revolution: Labour Movements and Housing Projects in Tehran, 1943-1963. In C. Hein (Ed.), History Urbanism Resilience: The Urban Fabric (pp. 43-52). (International Planning History Society Proceedings ; Vol. 17, No. 2). TU Delft Open.