We would like to have your views, ideas and possible contribution to this very ambitious next forum.
Iran is at the same time a fundamentalist state and a modern state trying to open the way for a very active, evolved, and democratic society. You know that my trilogy [network society] has been published in Iran without censorship? Either I am a fundamentalist, or Iran is becoming a very diverse intellectual culture-there is evidence that it is the latter. Manuel Castells, 2003, p.103
This project is an opportunity to engage with, discuss and learn through the exchange of ideas and experience of the living aspects of cities and culture. Proposing alternatives to the idea of the conflict, Architects for Peace will explore learning and creativity through the sharing of friendship, knowledge, city and culture with our colleagues in Iran. Furthermore, outside Australia, the second largest group of arch-peace members come from Iran.
Iran is currently threatened by war. As professionals of the built environment we oppose unilateral military intervention of sovereign nations. In the 21 century it is incomprehensible to contemplate war as a solution - the senseless loss of lives, the destruction of cities, culture and of our fragile ecology.
Architects for Peace acts in solidarity with people threaten by war and with our colleagues wherever they live. Current social and ecological challenges demand that we should focus on new forms of engagement. This forum aims to create a discussion about peace and the urban environment in a location particularly threaten by war.
...However Tehran does have one thing that is lacking elsewhere: vivacity. This quality is difficult to define and almost impossible to create. Even if a crossroad in Tehran doesn’t function like a European square, with restaurants and infrastructure, it does teem with life. Tehran is dynamic, it is movement…. Kaveh Mehrabani, 2006, p55
Iran, as an old civilization with a proud heritage and tradition is also a modern country which experienced a rapid process of modernization and urbanization during the last five decades. While the pre-revolutionary Iran was always seen as a modern and progressive country, its post-revolutionary image is ambiguous and has faced different forms of misrepresentation or ignorance by the Western media which fails to project its diverse, young and dynamic society. With inherited urban problems such as extreme social stratification, dependency and growth of informal settlements from the previous regime the country had to face some other growing problems. A year after the revolution of 1979, the country faced war imposed by its neighbour, Iraq and those who backed it, which destroyed many urban structures and affected the life of many people. As M.Lubeck and Brits (2002, p.311-2) states:
“For urban activists who failed to apply Western models of social transformation, the revolution constituted a unique rupture with the past. For unlike other movements, revolutionary Iran survived the onslaughts of powerful antagonists: isolation and destabilization by the United States, Saudi funded efforts to delegitimize the revolution as an Islamic discourse, and the Iraqi invasion.”
While the shadow of war is still a part of people’s everyday life who are experiencing different kinds of isolation and marginalization from the international community, there are many groups especially youths and women who enthusiastically are working toward a modern, peaceful and promising Iran.
This forum aims to bring the views of these people and other guests from all over the world together in different areas related to urbanization, war and peace such as war migrants, representation of peace in architecture, affordable housing, social justice and urban development etc.
These are some potential topics—please send us your ideas.
- Universal right to shelter
- Humanity’s heritage
- Informal settlements
- Tehran and marginalization of the southerners
- Prevention of war and reconstruction after war
- Ethnic minorities and urban stratification
- War and urban migration
- Mobility and opportunity
- Architectural education and peace
Would you like to assist? Are you an Iranian member and you would like to help? Please write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org
As an inaugural action, we are calling for arch-peace members to participate in a design competition for a logo for IntentCity Iran 2010. The logo should convey the urban culture of Iran. The winner will be acknowledged on our website and receive a publication prize.
Please note amendments. Thanks Hanif Agharazy for the suggested details for the logo.
- For website purposes:
Dimensions: 300-500 pixels
Resolution: 100-150 DPI
File Format: GIF-JPEG
- For publication purposes:
Dimensions: 10 centimeteres
Resolution: 300-600 DPI
File Format: TIFF
See you all at intentCITY Iran 2010!
Beatriz C. Maturana
Architects for Peace, president
Architects for Peace, Middle East coordinator
Castells, M. (2003). Conversations with Manuel Castells, Manuel Castells and Martin Ince, Oxford: Polity.
Mehrabani, K. (2006). Teheran’s multiple modernities, A meeting in December 2006), Domus, 901
M.Lubeck, P. and Bryana Britts (2002). Muslim civil society in urban public spaces: globalization, discursive shifts, and social movements. In J.Eade and C. Mele (Edi) , Understanding the city: contemporary and future perspectives (pp.311-2), Oxford, UK; Malden, MA : Blackwell Publishing.
Find more about Iran: