Shopping Centers in Iran

Shopping Centers in Iran: Integration of Western commercial centers into Iranian space - an insight of shopping centers in Tehran

Azin Taghvashoar
M.Sc. European Urban Studies

One of the critical point in Iranian´ s city planning is modern elements from western countries. The modernism movement of Iran entered to the country by the frame agents rather than the cultural transfer of modernism to the society. The evidence sample of the frame agents is the channel of the ways system which was forced to all the cities of Iran, especially Tehran. One of the identical characteristic of Tehran is the including of frame agents symbol of the modernism. In fact, Tehran is the symbol of modernity in the mind of Iranian citizens. The evidence of these symbols care manifested in the constructed buildings, fashions, new manner and social intercourse and the streets in the linear shape for the movement of automobiles as well as shopping centers. In fact, the people of Tehran, Tehranis, have unconsciously accepted the modernity without their own desires.

The study objective is the so called “shopping centers”, its transformations and applicability in today’s Iranian urban context of the informal urban layout through cities networks, with the hypothesizes that it can be integrate with city planning in Iran and especially in Tehran as a capital city. However, one of the most important factors in urban planning, which nowadays in modern life has been entered, is shopping centre. By creating shopping centre in the big cities the urban form has been change through the city layout. Shopping location has been one of the bases of any life assemblage from old times up to now and they have played the main role as the heart for living. Although this importance has experienced many ups and downs through history, but it has never lost its role.

Informing all of Gruen´s theory and practice are leitmotifs that he articulated in his many publications and speeches and that continue to be urgent today. One of them is the role of commercial centres and planning in the building of the city. Moreover, as Gruen believed ``commerce is the motor of urban culture´´. (Alex Wall 2005: 13) Also he mentioned ``shopping centres can improve the city´´. (M. Jeffrey Hardwick 2004: 221)

One of these western elements which today are visible in Iran is shopping centre. As I had research in this field I believe shopping is not just a raw exchange of money and goods but an activity that is social, interactive, theatrical and involving motion and flow. Moreover, it is an activity that is profoundly urban. Therefore the PhD discusses the integration of western shopping centers as a modern icons in the urban scale and architectural format of Iranian society and culture. The intended research will be a phenomenal achievement, not only will it serve the integration of western commercial format into the Iranian society and urban planning, but it will be also promote the right image and widen the understanding of Iranian city planning.

By growing cities in Iran, the needs of citizens for having modern element or Western
element increased. These urban elements which call modern or Western in my country are very visible now, from the shape of the skyscrapers, high buildings and the structure of the high ways to the manner of the people. Moreover, one of the recent of this element is shopping centers through the urban layout in cities. Shopping centre as the new urban form is still running in its way. The reason of the need of the city to this shopping centre has been considered because of the factors like improper of weather in about half of the year, air pollution, no access to the lowest rate of wealth properties, the insecurities of traffic, no place for parking and no vanity in shops.