The history of Iranian Cities and its associated urban apaces are long and colourful. The role of urban areas has always been an important one. It is importa.nt for the purpose at hand, to examine, albeit in a cursory fashion, some of critical factors which shaped the development of Iranian Cities, including urban spaces. Moreover, I believe that these forces created, in Iran, a variable,
rational urban system and that the currency set of "problems" in Iranian Cities results from new technological forces interacting with older, historical forces.
Of course, making generalizations about Persian towns is, at best, a risky buisiness, The wide range of natural and historcal forces which have played across the face of this country have created special conditions in each urban settlement. But, in spite of the fact that each Persian town has a distinct character and ambience,
one can easily see that these differences occur within a framework which is remarkably similar in both basic principles and details.
Now, however, even greater forces are operating in Iran, as all over the world, to alter towns almost beyond recognition. The internal combustion engine is introducing a new scale of distance
to the city; telecommunications are giving the city a new time scale; industrialization is challenging the traditional economic bases of cities. Time and again, for both the East and West, these
new forces have overwhelmed the more modest human scale of
old towns. Times and again, planners and administrators have realized very late in the process that the other scales must be preserved as well. Iran is no exception.
This article offers some suggestions as to how Iranian planners and administrators might preserve the human scale in Persian towns. It begins with a look at the history of Persian towns in an attempt to define (implicitly) the Persian human scale by
describing the rational urban systems and details which developed
in Iran over some 5,000 years of urbanisation. Then we examine some current cities which have already been greatly altered by modern technological forces to see just where tradition and innovation work together and where they are at odds. Since "future" still means changes, we must examine the nature of this "future" - the future of the city in Iran.