(January 2010) Piecemeal development versus comprehensive redevelopment in deteriorated urban neighbourhoods of Tehran

Piecemeal development versus comprehensive redevelopment in deteriorated urban neighbourhoods of Tehran image

Tehran faces extensive deterioration in its inner-city neighbourhoods. It has been a few years since the government has decided to take the approach of regeneration towards these areas. However, there does not seem to be a coherent precedent of urban regeneration. In this respect, this thesis looks at two of the major regeneration models in inner-city areas, namely piecemeal development and comprehensive redevelopment. This analysis is based on socio-economic aspect of each development. In the social aspect, it will focus on the development effects on social exclusion. In the economical part, it will look at property development aspect of urban regeneration.

Each of these development models has their own supporters and critics, although authors have analysed them mainly in European context many of the concepts could be used to analyse other localities.  Cheshire mentions piece-meal development is a natural characteristic of cities, and that they have developed as such, with occasional major interventions, throughout the history (Cheshire, 2006). This highlights the need for approaches and studies for re-fit and re-order in the built environment as opposed to new build. On the other hand, Turok mentions that large-scale redevelopment for major economic restructuring in cities might be required where piecemeal development is not the answer. These urban regeneration projects, in old industrial sites or areas of dereliction, had a growth-oriented approach, and the benefits were supposed to go to disadvantaged groups (Turok, 1992). Guy et al. argue that this sort of development is favoured amongst financial institutions, which are the major financiers of Regeneration projects (Guy et al. ,  2002).

Although piece-meal development seemed to be favoured amongst academics in the field, but what is happing on the ground is the contrary. Therefore, the aim of this research is to analyse the pros and cons of each model in the context of Tehran. This will contribute to future developments in deteriorated urban areas of Tehran. 

In terms of contribution to knowledge by analysing a classical development model, comprehensive redevelopment, and the rather new one, piece meal development, this research will try to offer alternative ways for regeneration of deteriorated areas, which is an ever-increasing problem. This gap in literature has been highlighted by numerous authors, including Porter and Shaw that raise the need for research in alternative ways to ‘comprehensive redevelopment’ through land assembly (Porter and Shaw, 2009). And more specifically on the property development aspect, Guy et al mention that little research has been done in understanding how property development work within urban regeneration and in analysing the motivation of investors, (Guy et al. ,  2002).

This research is a comparative study between these two models in deteriorated urban neighbourhoods of Tehran. It starts with literature review of current academic debates in the field. Then it moves to debates and examples in Tehran. Neighbourhoods in Tehran would be chosen as case studies for qualitative analysis, this would be mainly based on interviews on three levels; residents, practitioners and city officials.