Worn-out Urban Textures


By Dr. Solmaz Rezaei
Head of research and consulting department


The worn out texture refers to urban spaces that are vulnerable with low economic value due to physical worn-out, social and environmental issues, and the absence of peripheral urban infrastructure. Typically, reducing the efficiency of any phenomenon provides the necessary background for its exhaustion. In urban areas as well, urban texture tends to exacerbate when the conditions for a favorable social and economic environment are not provided. Therefore, the concept of weariness of urban textures relates to its inefficiency compared with other urban areas. The worn out textures are common in damage totality, but the effective factors of their weariness can be different in nature, which can be divided into three categories:

Urban heritage sites: Despite their exhaustion, they have historically valuable spaces, buildings and installations, and are considered a cultural heritage for a city. Awareness of the historical significance of these elements will reflect the identifying role of these textures at the stage of intervention, and the institutions involved in the issues related to the cultural heritage of the country at this stage play their supervisory role fully and accurately.

Urban Textures: Textures that are within the legal boundaries of the city and are facing no objection in terms of legal funds of ownership. These textures are created when the weak stratum of society reside on the inner and outer urban space, which is now part of the city with its widening, in environment that is inadequate in terms of safety, fortifications and urban infrastructure.

Marginal textures: informal settlements that are located on the outskirts of cities and metropolitan areas due to the low income of the applicants for residence in cities.

Currently, there are over 70,000 hectares of dense and inefficient texture lands in Iran, where a population of nearly 9 million people reside. Also, according to surveys, 5 percent of Tehran’s metropolitan area consists of worn out texture, including about 15 percent of the urban population, i.e. more than 1 million and 100,000 inhabitants. These spaces have all three main indicators of microlithic, instability and impermeability, which are the main indicators of the country’s practice in worn-out textures. In other words, in these areas, more than 50% of the blocks have an area of less than 200 square meters, more than 50% of the blocks are unstable, and passages of more than 50% of the blocks are less than 6 meters wide. Also outside this range, part of the city’s texture owns one of these three main indicators and is getting worn out.

In general, three types of interventions in the context of worn-out tissues can be implemented according to their type and degree of constancy to the past:

  1. Improvement: The main approach to this kind of interference is the preservation of works identity, which in this way the main goal is to restore the old urban texture and promote the social value of the old neighborhoods.
  2. Renovation: This method is used when urban space has acceptable performance but due to weariness, its efficiency decreases. This method will restore the life of the city within the range under operation.
  3. Reconstruction: In this method, there is no requirement for the maintenance of the past, and the necessary action is required from demolishing the existing structure to building new sites.

According to the laws in our country, various institutions and systems have specific tasks regarding worn out textures. According to paragraph (d) of the note under Article 171 of the 5th Five-Year Development Plan, the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development and municipalities are required to renovate 10% of the worn out textures annually, which is far from what is actually done. In spite of the facilities offered in this area, such as zeroing out miscellaneous expenses, forgiving offenses, freeing up splits, giving 180% density in these textures and providing free renovation by relevant offices, the costs of renovation and reconstruction are far away from what they should be. According to some officials, despite the 640 billion USD budget for the issue of worn-out textures in the country, which grew more than the previous year, solving this problem requires much more resources and facilities. However, only 30 percent of that amount has been allocated. Also, according to the government’s resolution, it was decided to pay loan to 300 thousand residents of these textures annually, of which only 38 thousand loans were paid to applicants over the past four years. It is evident that the most important issue in order to achieve a proper position in the context of the repairing worn out textures, includes achieving the financial resources which should be used by all the