Utilizing “Urban Acupuncture” Methodology to Reactivate the Dilapidated and Decaying Historic Core of Tehran

This project aimed at developing a strategy for revitalization of a central Tehran district. Located on southern side of Tehran’s bazaar, this 200-year old neighborhood is located at the center of historic core of Tehran and contains some of the oldest structures the city possesses. At the time (2003) the neighborhood was experiencing a population decrease unlike any other neighborhood of constantly expanding Tehran. Many of the structures were vacant, occupied by the low income and informal settlements, many of them drug addicts and small scale dealers. While at the edge of one of the most expensive commercial streets in the city, the issue with absentee owners and large informal settlements were preventing the neighborhood from realizing its potential. Some developers were working with the city to raze the whole neighborhood to make way for higher density developments. In our view, the historic center had to be restored and used for attracting the at-risk youth and as a differentiator to draw visitors and bring about economic transformation. By conducting field research and developing a social census of the area and an activity/entertainment masterplan, a plan was proposed to widen a few thoroughfares and build several structures in critical areas with a technological theme and with the aim to train and attract at-risk youth in the neighborhood and beyond. In doing so, a strategy for cross-subsidization was developed to allow the neighborhood to benefit from a very commercially vibrant surrounding areas.