The 1968 Tehran master plan and the politics of planning development in Iran (1945–1979)

Azadeh Mashayekhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper traces the relationship between state development policies and planning Tehran’s urban development from 1945 until the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It shows how the geopolitical context of the Cold War, and the political agendas of multilateral and bilateral development agencies (i.e. the World Bank and the Ford Foundation), together with the specific circumstances of the national modernization of Iran, were decisive in shaping the Iranian planning administration and the emergence of a comprehensive master planning approach. Moreover, this study demonstrates the critical role of the Iranian technocratic elite and professional middle class in establishing planning institutions and advocating for a vision of progress and development. The focus here is on the formation of the ‘Plan Organization’ as the first modern planning institution in Iran, and the ways in which this institution played a key role in shaping Iranian expert culture and urban planning practices. By examining the links between national development policies and urban planning, this paper presents how comprehensive master planning emerged as the preferred model for the planning and development of Iranian cities. The focus here is on the design and implementation of Tehran’s 1968 Comprehensive Master Plan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-876
Number of pages28
JournalPlanning Perspectives: an international journal of history, planning and the environment
Volume34 (2019)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • comprehensive master planning
  • foreign and local experts
  • plan organization
  • planning urban development
  • Tehran


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