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Urban continuity and urban change; lessons from Jolfa a historical district of Isfahan

Ahmadi Venhari, Armaghan; Foroughmand Araabi, Hooman


Armaghan Ahmadi Venhari


There is a dialectical relationship between continuity and change in urban phenomena. When urban change accelerates, especially due to external forces, cities are likely to face the crisis of identity. Iran is a country that has undergone very different situations throughout its history, and its cities have respectively responded through different ways of survival. One of these cities is Isfahan, which includes a district called Jolfa: the first designed neighbourhood of a city in Iran. Jolfa as a place to settle Armenian immigrants to Iran in Safavid era is the most viable historic urban space with 2% effete, and it is the heart of social life in contemporary Isfahan. The main goal of this research is to find out how Jolfa has adapted to changing situations. Thus, the process of site allocation for Jolfa, its development and current position is studied. In response to the key role of ecologic and social aspects in Jolfa this research is focused on the relation of socio-ecologic aspects and the built environment. The majority of Iran is located in the climate where supplying water is much of a struggle and inhabiting in such a situation was deeply based on innovative methods of managing resourses. Therefore the form of capital in this territory was, unlike Europe, water rather than land. One of these innovative methods was building creeks diverged from rivers called Madi and another was bringing green space into
built environment. Apart from their ecological functions, water canals function as infrastructures prompting social interaction. This research focuses on historic processes of
development and the role of water. Although, some wrong decisions threaten this unique neighbourhood, the sense of community is the key to Jolfa’s survival now. This research used historic documents and traced the footprint of history in the contemporary city in a field study; in addition, GIS was applied as a method of study. This research goes beyond the shape of city and focuses on social aspects of it. It is also hoped that the results of this case study can be used beyond Jolfa in other cases.


Ahmadi Venhari, A., & Foroughmand Araabi, H. (2012, November). Urban continuity and urban change; lessons from Jolfa a historical district of Isfahan. Presented at Silk Cities

Presentation Conference Type Lecture
Conference Name Silk Cities
Start Date Nov 1, 2012
End Date Nov 1, 2012
Acceptance Date Nov 8, 2012
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords urban community, urban change, lessons, Jolfa, historical district, Isfahan
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : URBAN CHANGE IN IRAN