Exploring the Theoretical Perspective of “Urbanization” Concept in Iran Based on the CLA Method

Document Type : Research Article


1 Full Professor, Faculty of Architectural and Urban Development, University of Shahid Beheshti, Tehran, Iran.

2 Ph.D Student in urban planning and design, Faculty of Architectural and Urban Development, University of Shahid Beheshti, Tehran, Iran.


Problem statement: Over the last decades, “urbanization” has always been identified as one of the key driving forces of socio-spatial transformations across the world. However, various interpretations of mutations about this concept are not seriously discussed in accordance with its contextual and temporal characteristics. Literary equivalents such as city growth, urban becoming, city building, civilization, and urbanism have been used to cover its complex concepts in Iran. It is obvious that equivalence in any literature is a conventional and formal issue, however, it is worthwhile to separate the formal issues of words from their conceptual issues. Currently “urbanization” is rapidly evolving and becoming more dynamic.
Research objective: This research tries to use the method of causal layer analysis (CLA) in four layers: (1) level of obvious and accepted, (2) level of macro-related causes, (3) level of discourse/worldview, and (4) level of metaphor/myth. In addition to identifying possible interpretations based on existing discourses and metaphors, this study seeks to provide various theoretical perspectives on the concept of “urbanization” in Iran.
Research method: The causal layered analysis (CLA) method is based on in-depth-semi-structured interviews and has been used to identify the main themes of the analysis layers at the level of elites and experts in the field of urban studies.
Conclusion: The research findings indicate that the concept of “urbanization” in Iran has four levels of analysis. The first level, as the rate of urban growth, arises from an objective and empirical reality. The second level is consistent with the concept of processes of urban becoming. The third level is based on the concept of “urbanization” as a collective action with the focus on opening the horizon in the politic of space. At the fourth level, as a differential subjective matter, it is associated with the metaphor of liberation.


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