Sepideh Davodipad, Fatma Ahsen Özsoy



Iran’s modernization process began from late nineteenth and early twentieth century with political and economic reforms that were followed by socio-spatial reforms. The state’s policy of modernization intensified in the 1960s to the late 1970s following the White Revolution and economic boom. Tehran was considered as the capital of modernization and a ground pattern for socio-spatial transformation in the country. The images of modern living spaces and modern society with a focus on women as agents of change and discontinuity were imported from the west. Modern socio-spatial ideas in confrontation with traditional and local ways of life transformed and adapted the status quo. The purpose of this study is to analyze the women’s use of modern domestic spaces constructed between the years 1960-1980 in Tehran, considering political, economic and socio-cultural dynamics.


The factors that affected use of space and adjustments were categorized in accordance to user profile, dwelling unit and settlement. The data was collected through in-depth interviews with twenty women and analyzed through narrative content analysis.


The results showed that several links existed between socio-cultural norms, women’s everyday life and use of space. Some of these connections represented demographic and economic sources, whereas others had physical, environmental and socio-political sources.

Research Limitations/Implications

Number of case studies were limited and making contact with the interviewees proved to be difficult due to security reasons of the settlements. Furthermore, in some instances it was challenging to have access to archives of buildings due to factors such as dissolution of companies in charge of planning in period of Iran Revolution (1978-9).

The significance of this study was to explore broader aspect of architectural design, housing development and evolution in Iran and leads to new perspectives in other fields such as socio-cultural studies.

Practical Implications

The investigation of practical aspect of modern housing through analyzing narratives of women dwellers provide useful analytical data for architects to consider factors such as household structure, privacy, everyday life and socio-cultural values in designing the domestic spaces.

Social Implications

A comprehensive study of the users in Tehran, based on the experience of women living there, unfolded a new level of findings. It showed that determinative factors on gender, domesticity and the use of space are deeply rooted within the context-specific social or cultural norms.


The previous studies focused on political, social and economic aspects, whereas this study concentrated on gathering first-hand information from the occupants to provide data on the women’s use of space in modern houses.


Tehran modern dwelling, everyday life, modern domesticity, modern women, use of space

Full Text:



Abrahamian, E. (2008). A History of Modern Iran. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Al‐Kodmany, Kh. (1999). “Residential visual privacy: Traditional and modern architecture and urban design”, Journal of Urban Design, 4 (3): 283-311.https://doi.org/10.1080/13574809908724452

Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social Critique of the judgement of taste. (R. Nice, Trans.), Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. (Original work published 1979)

Cieraad, I. (1999). At Home: an Anthropology of domestic Space. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press.

Clandinin, D.J., & Connelly, F.M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco: Jossey Bass Publishers.

Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications.

Edney, J.J. (1976). “Human territories: comment on functional properties”, Enviornment and behavior, 8 (1): 31. https://doi.org/10.1177/001391657600800103

Foucault, M. (1984). The Foucault reader. (Paul Rabinow Ed.). New York: Pantheon.

Ghannam, F. (2002). Remaking the modern: space, relocation, and the politics of identity in a global Cairo. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society. Los Angeles: University of California press.

Hayat Khan, T. (2014). Living with transformation: Self-built Housing in the City of Dhaka (Springer Briefs in Geography). Cham: Springer.

Heynen, H., & Baydar, G. (2005). Negotiating Domesticity: Spatial Production in Modern Architecture. London: Routledge.

Hillier, B., & Hanson, J. (1984). The social logic of space. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Karimi, Z. P. (2009). Transition in domestic architecture and home culture in twentieth century Iran (Unpublished PhD thesis). The Massachusetts institute of technology.

Karimi, Z. P. (2013). Domesticity and Consumer Culture in Iran: Interior revolutions of the Modern Era. London; Newyork : Routledge , Taylor and Francis Group.

Kent, S. (1990). Domestic Architecture and the Use of Space. Cambridge (England); New York: Cambridge University Press.

Lefebvre, H. (1991). The Production of Space. (D. Nicholson- Smith, Trans.), Oxford: Blackwell. (Original work published 1974)

Little, D. (2002). American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press.

Madanipour, A. (1998). Tehran: The Making of a Metropolis. Chichester: john Wiley & sons.

Munro, M. & Madigan, R. (1999). Negotiating space in the family home. In I. Cieraad (Ed.), At Home: an Anthropology of domestic Space (pp. 107-117). Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press.

Marshall, C., & Rossman, G. B. (2011). Designing qualitative research (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications.

Michelson, W. (1994). Everyday life in contextual perspective. In I. Altman & A. Churchman (Eds.), Women and the Environment (pp. 17-42). New York: Plenum Press.

Pader, E. (1988). “Inside spatial relations”, Arch. Comport, Arch. Behav., 4 (3): 251-267.

Putnam, T. (1999). Postmodern home life. In I. Cieraad (Ed.), At Home: an Anthropology of domestic Space (pp. 144-152). Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press.

Riessman, C. K. (2008). Narrative methods for the human sciences. USA: Sage Publications.

Soja, E. W. (1980). “The socio-spatial dialectic”, Journal of Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 70 (2): 207-225. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8306.1980.tb01308.x

Wilk, R. (1990). The built environment and consumer decisions. In S. Kent (Ed.), Domestic Architecture and the Use of Space (pp. 34-42). Cambridge University Press.

Wills C. (2001). “Women, domesticity and the family: recent feminist work in Irish”, Journal of Cultural Studies, 15 (1): 33-57. https://doi.org/10.1080/09502380010006745

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15320/ICONARP.2020.108
Fatal error: Call to undefined function curl_init() in /var/www/html/iconarp/lib/pkp/classes/webservice/WebService.inc.php on line 198