Urban sprawl in Iranian cities and its differences with the western sprawl

  • Houshmand Ebrahimpour-Masoumi Technical University of Berlin, Center for Technology and Society, Berlin, Germany
Keywords: urban sprawl; development pattern; density; urban growth; Iran


Recently a number of studies have focused on urban sprawl in the Iranian cities and the negative impacts of such development pattern. Although in a general view the phrase 'urban sprawl' is used for fast and sometimes uncontrolled urbanizations, but there are dissimilarities between the urban sprawl in the western societies with the so-called Iranian urban sprawl. This paper discusses these differences as part of five main aspects that are mentioned in the internationally recognized urban sprawl definitions. Suburban sprawl, single-use developments/zoning, disconnected street network, low accessibility of the new developments, and commercial strip development are the aspects that are descriptively discussed as the main differences between the two types of sprawl. The main point of the discussion is that due to the wide range of similarities, which are briefly introduced, the type of the fast outward urban growth that is observed in the periphery of the Iranian cities can be defined as a part of the universal urban sprawl trend. Finally a definition is suggested for explaining urban sprawl in Iran.


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