The transformation of public space: city squares as locations for power struggle - the case of Tehran

Soltani, Zohreh
This thesis explores the transformation of public spaces, with reference to power relations and the struggle for power. In this regard Tehran has been chosen as the main concern and the case of the study, while in its short history of being the political center of the country, the city has been hosting several uprisings and political tensions that are projected on the body of the city. The agencies of this power struggle will be analyzed sociologically and politically, to comprehend the way public spaces of the city and the conception of space are transformed. The spatial analysis of the case of the study in different periods of its history, in relation to socio-political elements of effect, will cause the study to evolve around a simultaneous concentration on spatial transformation and power relations. With such a framework this thesis will question the role of architecture and urban design in the transformation of space, which is dominated by the power struggle, and its balance. The primary aim here is to understand how public space becomes a political apparatus in using urban public spaces historically, in the struggle over power, and how the ruling power represents its ideology in public spaces and how in response the resisting forces of the society manifest their demand for change in public spaces and appropriate those v spaces to live in. Alongside the theoretical discussions, the case of Tehran will provide a multi dimensional source for these explorations; the discussions will mainly focus on a great public square of Tehran (Azadi Square), and the entrance of Tehran University, as the critical and symbolic nodes of public gatherings in the recent history of this city, to analyze how public spaces which are created by one authority of power might totally change in terms of function and meaning, and be transformed into a new entity with similarities and contradictions with the previous one.


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Citation Formats
Z. Soltani, “The transformation of public space: city squares as locations for power struggle - the case of Tehran,” M.Arch. - Master of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, 2011.