Tehran and Paris, capitals of the 19th century, A historical comparison

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Institutional Affiliation : 
University of Versailles
Academic Bio: 
Farhad Roozbehi is an architect, urban designer and PhD candidate in the history of architecture at Versailles University (UVSQ) in France. He studied at Tehran University and Shahid Beheshti (previously Melli) University in Tehran, and holds Masters degrees from both. In Iran, he worked as architecture designer and physical planner in different agencies and as architecture designer and consulting engineer on his own. In France since 2001, he received his research Master's degree (DEA) from the University of Versailles in history of architecture and urban morphology, and has since advanced to PhD candidature. As a PhD candidate, he is undertaking research on transformations and changes in Iranian architecture and urban spaces in the first half of the 20th century.

In the middle of the 19th century, both Tehran and Paris were seen by contemporaries as cities which had remained stuck in the Middle Ages, their streets still dark, narrow and unhealthy.
Paris in particular was the subject of many writings in the 19th century. From the end of the 18th century on, the city was analyzed exhaustively and documented by architects, doctors, engineers and cartographers. But the man who directed the transformation of Paris under the Second Empire, was a civic planner who called himself Baron Haussmann. His task was to improve hygiene through better air quality. Drawing on the analyses mentioned above, Haussmann worked out a vast plan of urban restoration, envisaging a certain number of parks and gardens, and creating many new public gardens, as well as the avenues, the squares and the large monumental buildings for which Paris is famous. On the whole, it is estimated that the work of Baron Haussmann modified Paris by 60%.
Tehran in the 18th century was still a mysterious city, largely unknown to Westerners. But in the19th century it opened up to the world and started to change. The first development plan of the city was applied in 1867, during the reign of Nasser-din Shah (1848 - 1896), the 4th sovereign of the Qajar line. This plan reorganized Teheran, envisaged new public spaces, avenues, and new structures with new functions and for new activities.
These two cities developed at the same time: Is it possible, then, through comparative methods, to seek the logic behind Tehran’s development through that  of Paris? Did Tehran develop following Haussmann's model? Or were there other reasons which had an influence on the development plan? The current study compares the historical steps in the development of the two cities and analyses their urban history during the 19th c. CE.

Academic Discipline : 
History of Achitecture
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