Can Modern Heritage Construct A Sensible Cultural Identity? Iranian Oil Industries and the Practice of Place Making

  • Iradj MoeiniEmail author
  • Mojtaba Badiee
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


The processes of urban modernisation have frequently been vilified in developing countries, and for good reasons. They are generally seen as the results of top-down decision makings and a skin-deep, out of place political will to modernise communities without having its prerequisites in place. This kind of modernisation is prone to the risks of disrupting organically and historically developed settlements and alienating people from their physical context. They are likely, as they have often been in Iran, to prioritise efficiency, facilitated traffic flows and a modernised way of development in general, over the sustainability of communities and their well-being. The question is, however, what if there is no built environment tradition in place? What if a new community is shaping around emerging forms of production in places with no established traditions of built environment? Can such new developments create a sense of attachment rather than alienation among their dwellers—unlike what is usually expected from these developments to do? This chapter looks at some of the new developments built by oil industries in their heyday in Abadan, a scarcely populated area with little recent histories of urbanism. Built to create a community from an assortment of immigrant workers, they are generally believed to defy the consensus that such top-down developments with their design ideas imported from elsewhere are incapable of creating a sense of place. Focusing on Abadan’s Braim and Boverdeh, the chapter examines how, standing the test of time and still sought-after places, these developments have achieved what many of their counterparts have failed to achieve. The generally acknowledged achievements of these developments give strength to the argument that it is perhaps not so much urban modernisation per se than is the way they are viewed and implemented that results in the alienation which comes with them. In this sense, urban modernisation is not so much obstacles than are vulnerable drivers for creating cultural identities and the sense of place.


Iranian oil towns Urban modernisation Urban alienation Sense of place Khuzestan Abadan 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shahid Beheshti University (SBU)TehranIran

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