Interactions and contradictions of preservation and modernization : the case of Isfahan, Iran
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This Thesis addresses the meaning, the origins, and the formation of preservation in Isfahan, Iran, in relation to the state’s modernization process. In the course of this narrative the internal and external forces stemming from the interaction and contradiction between local and global values, traditionalism and modernism, their advocates, and the changeful socio-political geography of place within a fast process of urban development will be discussed to answer the question. The findings show that in contrast to the formation of preservation within and through a course of modernism movement in West—although first opposed and then integral to modernism— in Iran, generally, and Isfahan, particularly, this is the preservation’s thought which develops modernism—first integral and then opposed to preservation. The findings suggest that preservation and modernization in Iran interact with each other through three main conduits. These include tomb architecture, industrialization of the city, and the imported modernism mainly through American urban plans. In the case of tomb architecture we observe an interaction between modernization and preservation, while as in the case of other two subjects the contradiction is more dominant. This contradiction, however, as we explore in Pahlavi II founded and developed the theory and practice of preservation in Iran. The focus of the current study is on Isfahan which distinguishes it from other similar studies on Iran.