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Azam Khatam

Lupe [1]

York University

  • Dissertation
  • CV


Tehran Urban Reforms Between Two Revolutions: Developmentalism, Worlding Urbanism, and Neoliberalism

My Phd research examines the 1990s modernization reform in Tehran. A pioneer plan of a broader economic reconstruction project launched one decade after the Islamic revolution (1979), Tehran’s reform articulated an ambitious urban renewal relying on intensification of land use, speeding up the geographical movement, disciplining the space, and beautifying the city-- with a neoliberal decentralization of urban governance and a democratic cultural change. I have studied this multilayered transformation in three constructive relations: in its historical context and looking for the continuance/break with the modernizing reforms of the past; through addressing the role of technocracy in shaping the urban reforms through the transformation of state/space relations; and finally by looking at global/national/local dynamics in space-scale interactions. The reform accelerated the “creative destruction” of the city, while contributed to the cultural and political openings that led to the reformist movement in Iran. 



PhD (candidate), York University, Toronto, Canada
Urban Environment
Dissertation title: Tehran’s Urban Reforms between Two Revolutions: Developmentalism, Worlding and Neoliberalism.
Dissertation Committee: Roger Keil (Chair) Stefan Kipfer, Liette Gilbert and Arang Keshavarzian

Master of Arts, Alameh Tabatabei University, Tehran, Iran
Cultural Sociology
Concentration: Transformation of inner city neighbourhoods in Tehran

Bachelor of Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Concentration: State, Class and Politics of Housing in Iran


The City Institute, York University, Toronto
Research Affiliate

State University of New York, SUNY Research Foundation, Albany
Online Lecturer on environmental impacts of models of urbanism: Environmental Training of the Trainers

International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, Netherland
International Research Fellow: Research Project Oil and urban development in Asaluyeh, Iran

City Institute, York University
Research Assistant: Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land, and Infrastructure in 21st Century

Architecture and Urban Planning Research Center, Tehran, Iran
Research officer on Tehran’s population and housing market, Tehran Comprehensive Plan 2006

Tehran Research and Planning Center, Tehran Municipality, Iran
Member of supervisory committee on Tehran’s detailed plan

Architecture and Urban Planning Research Center, Tehran, Iran
Research officer on population, social policy and housing market, Tehran Urban Region Plan



Shahr va zaminlarzeh: chera zelzeleh dar Iran margbar ast? (City and earthquake: why earthquake is still so lethal in Iran?) edited book. Tehran: Agah Publishing House

Cities and Earthquake in Iran: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Vulnerabilities toward Earthquake Hazards in Iran (ed.). Tehran: Agah Publishing House, in Persian

Book Chapters

The Space Reloaded: Publics and Politics on Enqelab Street in Tehran, in Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings, Beyond the Square by Deen Sharp and Claire Panetta, New York: UR Terreform.

La rénovation urbaine en Iran: De I’interventionnisme d’Etat au mercantilisme. En Le Téhéran des quartiers popularizes, transformation urbaine et société civile en République Islamique (ed.) by Mina Saeidi-Sharouz. Paris: Karthala.

Struggles over defining the moral city: Islam and urban public life in Iran, in Linda Herrera and Asef Bayat (eds.) The Making of Muslim Youths: New Cultural Politics in the Global South and North.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Peer Reviewed Articles

The destruction of Bam and its reconstruction following the earthquake of December 2003, Cities (23): 462-464.

Réforme et société civile: Exemple des conseils municipaux, Esprit (7):156- 158.

Online Articles

Decentralization and ambiguities of local politics in Tehran. Co-authored by Arang Keshavarzian, Middle East Institute, “Governing Megacities in MENA and Asia,”
Link [2]

Iranian Paradox – The Inverted Relation of University and Society, in International Sociological Association, Council of National Associations
Link [3]


Urban modernism and gentrifying politics in Tehran. Tenth Biennial Iranian Studies Conference, Montreal, August 2014.

Policies and practices of urban rehabilitation in the old neighborhoods. Regional Workshop on Urban Mutations, CETOBAC/IFEA/IFRI Istanbul, May 2013.


The Paradox of land: Between state-led suburbanism and self-built housing.
Spotlight on Istanbul: Building and Rebuilding the Periphery” workshop, Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) on Global Suburbanisms, Istanbul, December 2015.

Land, intensification and inequalities in property rights. International confernce on Urban development, Tehran University & Tehran Municpality, Tehran, October 2015.

Women’s insecurities in Tehran. Transformative Knowledge Networks Workshop held by International Social Science Council & City Institute, York University, Toronto, January 2015.

Beyond Navab Highway. The Tenth Biennial Iranian Studies Conference, Montreal, August 2014.

From company towns to labor camps: Deregulating oil urban environment in Iran. International Institute for Social History (IISG), Amsterdam, January 2014.

Beyond developmentalism and populism: Transformation of urban governance in Iran. Inter-Asian Connections IV Conference by Social Science Research Council, Yale University and Koç University, Istanbul, October 2013.

Suburban processes and politics of decentralization in Tehran. Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century, York University, Toronto, September 2013.

Urban change and reform movement in Iran. 2nd Annual Conference, International Graduate Co-Teaching Program among six universities in Berlin-New York-Toronto, June 2013.

Policies and practices of urban rehabilitation in Tehran. Regional Workshop on Urban Mutations, CETOBAC/IFEA/IFRI, Istanbul, May 2013.

Redefining urban citizenship in Tehran in post Iran-Iraq war. Junior Scholarship Research Workshop, Iranian Studies Initiative, Kevorkian Center for Middle Eastern Studies, New York University. New York, May 2013.


The City Institute at York University, Canada, since 2008
International Association of Iranian Studies, since 2008
International Sociological Association, R32 &R21, since 2009
Association of American Geographers, since 2010
Association for Middle Eastern Studies, since 2012
International Institute for Social History, Netherland, since 2013
Iranian Sociological Association, 2001
Independent Researchers on Women’s Issues in Iran, co-founder, 1998 

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