Set at the foot of the Alborz mountains, Tehran, once an agricultural enclave characterized by forests and abundant mountain water, developed at the site of a citadel since medieval times. Tehran was first walled during the Safavid era, in the mid-sixteenth century. With the decline of other regional centers, Tehran replaced Shiraz as the capital of the Zand dynasty in the mid-eighteenth century, before being proclaimed the capital of the succeeding Qajar dynasty in 1795. Tehran flourished under Qajar patronage, and the city gained the addition of various gardens and complexes, perhaps the most notable being the Kakh-i Gulistan, or Gulistan Palace.
By the early twentieth century, these walls were subsumed by the continually expanding city, as the population growth reached half a million. From 1870-2/1287-9 AH, Nasir al-Din undertook the city's modernization, extending the city walls, adding decorative towers and twelve new, tiled gates. Inspired by the urban development of Paris under Napoleon III, which al-Din had witnessed personally on a visit abroad in 1873, the new walls were designed with the work of Sebastien Leprestre de Vauban in mind, and the area north of the original city transformed to the likeness of the Boulevard Haussman. New avenues and squares were constructed, among them; Meydan-e Tupkhane (Cannon Square) , Avenue Lalezar (Tulipbed Street), and Ala Od Dwale Under al-Din's direction the city quadrupled in size, and many of the gardens surrounding the city were used for further construction. The Kakh-i Gulistan was rebuilt, and became the centerpiece of the city, with the addition of turreted towers, supervised by Dust 'Ali Khan Nizam al Dawla. Polychrome tiles replaced the painted ornamentation in much of the complex, as did carved stucco and decorative mirror-work. In addition to the Kakh-i Gulistan, summer palaces were constructed in the Shimiranat villages in the city's northern suburbs.
Tehran yet again underwent expansion and modernization efforts in the mid-twentieth century, as the prosperity that accompanied the exploitation of oil from the 1950s accelerated the growth of the city. In 1979, Tehran became a hub for revolutionary activities, aimed at concluding the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The city has continued to be a site of development, with over half of Iran's total industry being based in Tehran, and the construction of many research and educational centers.
Vaziri Zadeh, Alireza. “English abstract of 'The Physical Structure of the City of Tehran'". Translated by the MCA Editorial Team. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi, 151. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
.حمیدی، ملیحه. استخوانبندی شهر تهران. تهران: سازمان مهندسی و عمران شهر تهران، ١۳٧۶،۳ جلد، ٩۵١ص
Ustikhanbandi-yi Shahr-i Tihran (The Physical Structure of the City of Tehran) was published following a research project supported by Tehran’s municipality. The main objective of the research was to reorganise the city of Tehran in order to have control over its future developments. The historical centre of the city was the object of the most scrutiny as the research was based on the hypothesis that every action-plan for organising the complex structures of the city should be initiated from its centre.
According to the author, the research initially lacked theoretical support. The author provides an overview of urbanism by citing the theories of a number of scholars on the issue since the sixties, with the purpose of showing that there are various approaches to the study of urban structure.
The book features research focused exclusively on the case study of Tehran and provides comprehensive data on the expansion of the city from the Safavid period onwards. The results showed that Tehran’s physical structure was finalised by the 60s and the later developments led to the creation of independent sub-structures.
In sum, the book depicts the past and the present of the city’s structure, and sets a vision for its future. It refers to methods and general concepts of regeneration and organisation of the structure of the city, and presents them in three scales; metropolitan, district and neighbourhood.
The book distinguishes itself from other studies on the subject through its methodology. It investigates the physical structure of a city by measuring its functionality, form, landmarks and transportation network. The work also provides a large number of informative maps, along with some illustrations from late twentieth- century Tehran. Finally, the book contains details on other historical cities of Iran.