How Grand Bazaar Resists Gentrification!

In the context of the metropolization of Tehran, some of the popular neighborhoods of the city have remained beyond the changes and heavy intervention in the urban fabric which have transformed drastically the rest of the city. The old neighborhoods in the area of the Grand Bazaar of Tehran are significant examples of this process. This article looks for the possible answers to the question of how the morphological continuity and the endurance of the physical and social environment of the neighborhoods around Grand Bazaar could be explained, despite existing development projects for the area and the growing prices of the land, which has been a big incentive for change during recent decades.
Through my fieldwork in two central neighborhoods of Teheran, started in 2008 and finished in 2011, I will examine a combination of factors such as demographic data about the residents, mainly migrants; their linkages through collective, social, and religious practices; and the economic actors in the neighborhoods in order to explain the context of the local resistance to the developmental projects. I will argue that most of the residents, who participated in the Revolution of 1979 and fought in the Iran-Iraq war, feel they have the right to resist the imposed top-down urban interventions. In this paper I will show how the neighborhoods are in the process of gradual transformation and modernization from inside-out. To this end, I will analyze the “interspaces” of negotiations between the population and the government.