Qualitative Sustainability Assessment of the Large- Scale Redevelopment Plan in Samen District of Mashhad

Document Type: Original Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


Redevelopment of distressed and blighted areas are targeted by most of development policies.
However, a number of policies have been changed as the result of the ineffectiveness of the previous experiences, the
incompatibility of the development tools and plans, the lack of financial resources or social movements. Large-scale
redevelopment projects have usually been considered as the powerful tools for urban revitalization, modernization
and implementation of radical plans while many of those were criticized due to their various consequences including
social exclusion, inequality, social conflicts, environmental damages, inconsistent scale, etc. Downtown of the City of
Mashhad; Samen District, has experienced various physical interventions in the form of large-scale projects during the
last century. Although the projects and intervention policies have been transformed during the past decades, previous
faults were ignored and sometimes were iterated in these experiences. In fact, it seems that urban development
solutions in the district have not been sustainable solutions and couldn’t maintain or shape a sustainable community
in the historical and formerly economic urban core of Mashhad. This paper, focusing on mega redevelopment
projects experienced in Samen Districst after 1920s, aims to highlight the critical aspects neglected or bent in Samen
redevelopment program. Based on the nature of large-scale redevelopment projects and the current sustainability
criteria, it qualitatively assesses the sustainability of the redevelopment projects through content-analysis method.
According to the results, despite the competitiveness and place promotion goals of the Samen redevelopment project,
the adopted approaches and policies could not lead to a state of sustainable development.