New towns and their practical challenges: The experience of Poulad Shahr in Iran

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Iran's rapidly growing urban population is concentrated in a few large cities. Using the new town strategy, the government of Iran plans to direct future population growth and economic activities from large cities such as Tehran, Esfahan, Mashad, Shiraz and Tabriz to new towns around them. The strategy recommends that new towns should be balanced and self-contained. This paper examines the case study of Poulad Shahr, a major new town located in the Esfahan Region, where the new town strategy has been more vigorously applied than anywhere else in Iran. Specifically, it describes and evaluates the practical challenges that surrounded its development in the past and the implications of these challenges for Poulad Shahr and other new towns in the Esfahan Region and elsewhere in Iran in the future. It is concluded that Poulad Shahr has a long and difficult road ahead to reach its target population of 500,000 and become a dynamic, balanced and self-contained new town. The analysis and findings of this paper are useful to planners, other professionals and public policy makers involved in new town planning in Iran and other developing countries. © 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Habitat International