The Bartlett School of Planning


Kiavash Soltani

Research subject

Thesis title: Piecemeal versus Comprehensive Redevelopment in Deteriorated Neighbourhoods of Tehran

Primary supervisor: Claudio De Magalhaes
Secondary supervisor: Nikos Karadimitriou
Sponsor: Sharmand Ltd
Starting date: Oct 2008
Projected completion date: May 2012 

Tehran, the capital of Iran, faces extensive deterioration in its inner-city neighbourhoods. It has been a few years since the government decided to take the approach of urban regeneration towards these areas. However, there does not seems to be a coherent precedent of regeneration. In this respect, this thesis looks at two of the major urban regeneration models in inner-city areas, namely piece-meal and comprehensive redevelopment.

This research is a comparative study between these two models in deteriorated urban neighbourhoods of Tehran. It analyses the social and economic aspects of each development. Each of these models has its own supporters and critics, although piece-meal redevelopment seems to be favoured in academic debates, but what is happening on the ground is to the contrary. In the current regeneration debates there is a quest for finding alternative ways for regenerating deteriorated urban areas, which is an increasing problem especially in developing countries. This gap in literature is highlighted by various authors including Guy et al (2002) Porter and Shaw (2009) and others. By analysing these two redevelopment models this research tries to contribute to alternative solutions for this urban problem.

The research starts with a literature review of current academic debates in the field, and then moves to debates and examples in Tehran. Two neighbourhoods in Tehran that have undergone redevelopment, one piecemeal and one comprehensive, are chosen as case studies. The methodology for this research is mainly qualitative. Interviews are a critical part of data collection process, which include semi-structured interviews with city authorities, planners and developers. Direct observation, documents and local and national census are also part of the data used to provide evidence for this research.


Kiavash was born in Tehran to two architects. He attended the same school as his parents to study Urbanism in one of the most chaotic cities, at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Tehran. He also worked in practice in Tehran, where he was involved in several master-planning projects for regeneration and urban development. He then moved to London, to do the MArch Urban Design course with Colin Fournier at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. His thesis explored different methods for achieving diversity in urban design projects. He started the PhD programme in 2008 under the supervision of Claudio de Magalhaes and Nikos Karadimitriou at the Bartlett School of Planning. His research is focused on regeneration of deteriorated neighbourhoods in Tehran, within which he is exploring social and economic consequences of redevelopment models. He is currently a visiting PhD Researcher at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. 

Publications and other work


Soltani, Kiavash (2011) Book review of 'The Option of Urbanism; Investing in a New American Dream' by Christopher Leinberger (2009) Journal of Urban Design, Taylor and Francis Journals, Issue 1, Vol. 16

Soltani, K. Tarazona, A. Fabianski, C. (2009) Social Sustainability of Historical District of Seoul; an Introduction, published by Space magazine, Seoul

Soltani, Kiavash (2009) An introduction to Urban Regeneration strategies in the UK, published in Urban Renewal quarterly Journal in Persian, Tehran


PhD workshop at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (2011); research presentation

AESOP (The Association of European Schools of Planning) PhD workshop, Seili Island, Finland (2010); paper presentation

International Urban Workshop; Gardens of Art, Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland (2009). Part of Bartlett School of Planning delegation as a tutor for this workshop

UNESCO International Workshop and Symposium in Seoul, Korea; Social Sustainability of Historical Districts (2009). Participation in the workshop as part of the Bartlett School of Planning delegation in the international workshop in Seoul



ENVS1016: Contemporary Cities (2009-2010) ENVS 3016: Urban Design: Space and Place (2011)
BENVGPLF: Planning for Housing: Project (2011 Introduction to Sketch Up for MSc Sustainable Urbanism (2010-2011)