In this research project, together with the other students, we try to identify and investigate historical patterns of housing typologies in the old neighborhood of Imamzadeh-Yahya; to examine physical transformations in urban housing; and thus, to demonstrate various typologies of spatial developments. Imamzadeh-Yahya is an old neighborhood in Tehran, near Bazaar, which noteworthy in this regard is its number of historical buildings, as well as its traditional forms of housing typologies. Located in the 12th district of Tehran, the neighborhood showcases a myriad of mixed-use spatial typologies ranging from housing/storage, housing/retail, and housing/workshop. This collage of various structures and mixed-use functionalities sits adjacent to subway and bus stations which links it to potential future developments. However, due to the lack of updated infrastructures accommodating contemporary lifestyles, Imamzadeh-Yahya failed, over the years, to support the local residents and business, and thus, is less efficient in contrast with new service centers. The distinct conditions of the area (mentioned above) provide us with a rich context for critical examinations of a developing neighborhood. Additional- ly, it is also part of a global discourse regarding cities with physically decayed centers. Moreover, Imamzadeh-Yahya’s rich historical context can be examined from two perspectives: On the one hand, the historical centers of a city are influential in forming its identity and are part of its cultural assets and containing treasures, namely collective memories and traces from the preceding life. On the other hand, historical parts are of economic importance (which in the case of Imamzadeh-Yahya is its central location beside the grand Bazaar of Tehran). A large part of the region, despite its identity values, is facing excessive degradation.


The aim of the X-Tutorials is to give students the freedom in their studies to work largely independently on their own research question. Following a thematic input by the tutors, the concrete research ques- tions are to be worked out by the participants themselves. Therefore, the concrete research project, the methodology, as well as the results will only emerge in the course of the introductory phase. The docu- mentation of the results in each case are presented in a two-stage process. In the final phase the results should be presented in a plenary session, whereby the medium can be chosen freely (e.g. post- ers, presentations, etc.). In addition, the research groups should submit their results in writing in a second step. Depending on the concrete research question, this can take the form of a term paper (approx. 10 pages), an evaluation of interviews, or a process report with bibliography.

Advanced bachelor and master’s students of Historical Urban Studies, Urban Planning, Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, Architecture Typology, Architectural Restoration, Civil Engineers, Political Science, Sociology, History and Culture Studies, as well as Geography and Urban Economy students and other disciplines by arrangement, can take the seminar.

We will be in constant contact with other actors in Berlin as well as Tehran who are also dealing with the topic of cities with decaying centers and developing neighborhoods.

K-lab is a laboratory for contemporary communication of urban contents, docked at the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning (ISR) at TU Berlin with a great reputation for running participatory design workshops. We can enjoy cooperation with the laboratory in mapping techniques and knowledge production methods, in the transdisciplinary cross-cultural workshops. The integration of our acquired data is possible in a form of a seminar or workshop with NGOs which are actively working on improving quality of life in Berlin Neighborhoods.

With a transdisciplinary approach to urban studies, this research focuses on urban research theory from Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s seminal, as well as typological approach of Katharina Borsi and graphic analytical methods of Sam Jakoby’s.

The Tutor
Mahshid Balazadeh is a master student in Architecture Typology at TU Berlin: She is soon submitting her master thesis. Following her interest in resident-oriented and participatory urban development now she wants to take a closer look at the subject. The technical supervision is provided by Prof. Dr. Angela Million, who is directoring Department for City and Regional Planning (ISR) at TU Berlin Chair for Urban Design and Urban Development.


Zoom meeting link:
Meeting ID: 610 5760 3151
Passcode: 740794