It is essential to understand the texture of the city by evaluating quantitatively the extent of open and built up spaces, knowing the quality of open spaces and built area, and identifying the formal-spatial system for balancing the built up and open spaces. The central area of Tehran, consisting of a great number of streets and squares, offers services to both Tehran and other cities. This area has spatially and visually valuable elements shows the main types of activities offered by the city and is geographically the center of the city. The various textures found in the city include the historical and valuable buildings in the center of the city, newly constructed buildings in the western and northern parts, the old buildings, the rural buildings mixed with urban buildings, and rural buildings. The central part of Tehran has the greatest number of valuable historical buildings. The surrounding areas of the valuable historical section include 83% of all the old buildings in the city. The greatest number of old buildings is found in the south east and south west districts; that is, districts 15, 16 and 17. In the immediate northern half of the city, old buildings are found in a very limited number of areas. In district 4, for example, the area devoted to old buildings include 7 hectares and in district 6 about 5 hectares. This shows that the neighborhoods in the outer parts have a larger number of new houses than those in the inner parts of the city.

 Old, relatively new and newly built buildings:

Without sufficient data, we cannot present a comprehensive typology of residential areas in Tehran. However, a general survey of the historical development of the city, an examination of the building licenses issued within the last decades, and the number of residential units built in each district make it possible to identify three types of areas: old, relatively new and newly built. The historical nucleus of Tehran consists of the old areas of the city, where the identity of Tehran as a city was manifested. Hesar Naseri and many other buildings with historical and political-historical significance characterize the old nucleus of Tehran. The preliminary function of these buildings was political-cultural but later they assumed an economic function as well. Gradually, around these historical buildings, other residential and economic circles developed, linking the old and the relatively new areas. The gates of the city were removed and the canals linking the old to the relatively new areas were filled. The growth of the city within the last hundred years, especially at the turn of the present century, has taken place within these limits. Meanwhile, new buildings were built inside the old area and on the margins of the relatively new areas, most of which were governmental buildings. In the last 50 years, due to the nature of development in Tehran, new buildings have been constructed in the outer parts of the city. New residential estates have emerged, such as Ekbatan, where the form and nature of the residences are quite different from those in the old and relatively new areas. Based on the statistics of residential units in various districts of Tehran and the historical identity of the city, the following types of areas can be discerned:
 Old areas:These are the areas of Tehran developed at the time of Naser-a’din Shah (Qajar dynasty) and Shah Tahmasb (Safavid dynasty). They include the greatest number of buildings with historical significance, forming the identity of the city. At the time of Shah Tahmasb, the city consisted of the following neighborhoods: Sangelach, Bazaar, Oudlajan, Imamzadeh Yahya and Chalehmeydan. The old Tehran was almost within the boroughs built at the time of Naser-a’din Shah, and many important buildings constructed at the time of Reza Shah, including the very well preserved National Garden, were also built within these limits. Within these limits were also streets that functioned as links, connecting the old center of the city to the surrounding areas. Some of these streets are: Valiasr, Shariati, Kargar, Piroozi, Resalat, Fatemi, Karimkhan Zand, Keshvarz Blvd., Shahid Beheshti Ave., Shahid Motahhari Ave., Mirdamad Blvd., Pasdaran Street and Sattarkhan Street.

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Relatively new areas:The relatively new areas include the sections between the old/historical areas (especially those developed in the last fifty years) and the newly built areas. The development of residential, services (including medical), cultural, and recreational buildings in these areas provided the ground for the further development of the city in the following decades. The northern neighborhoods such as Yousofabad, Amirabad, Gisha, Sattarkhan and the eastern areas such as Narmak, Imam Hossein are examples of this development. These areas are quite distinct from the older section of the city in terms of their construction pattern and type of residents. The urban networks are regular, the streets are wide, the type of construction materials is different, and the number of floors is greater. In spite of urban development in the last decades, the majority of municipal buildings are located in these areas, even though fewer and fewer people live there, giving way to buildings offering public services.
Newly built areas:In the last several decades, the production of housing has occurred unevenly among different districts of the city. The northwestern, eastern and southwest districts have shown the greatest variety and magnitude of development. A study of the construction licenses issued from 2006 to 2010 shows that the largest number of buildings were constructed in districts 2 and 5 (in the northwest), districts 8 and 4 (in the northeast), district 18 in the southwest, and districts 14, 15, and 5 (in the southeast). In the districts 17, 6 and 21, the lowest number of construction licenses was issued. In a general, it can be said that while certain districts (districts 2, 5, 22, 15 and 18) are quite distinct from the semiold and semi-new areas (such as districts 6, 10 and 11) or the historical area (district 12), there is a mix of old, relatively old, and new buildings all over the city.


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Figure 8.4 High-rise buildings in northern Tehran (2008)

Building permits issued (1995-2000)

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Building permits issued (1999-2010)

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Building permits issued (2001-2006)

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Building permits issued (2006-2010)

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Perimit issued for building over 10 floors (2000-2001)

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Permit issued for destruction and reconstruction (2000 -2001)

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Urban texture typology (2006)

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