Urban Resilience and Informality: Effects of Formalisation in Golestan, Iran

  • Solmaz Hosseinioon
Part of the Resilient Cities book series (RCRUT)


In times of rapid changes and transformations which new paradigms and challenges are arising fast, it is felt more than ever that we require more adaptive viewpoints in urban decision making and planning. The importance of resilience thinking framework is ever increasingly felt in various aspects of built environment and human settlements whether formal or informal.

Informal settlements are an important part of urbanity due to rapid urbanization, lack of access to affordable housing, disasters, civil wars and climate change. Socio-political events as well the modernization processes have increased the people’s tendency to live in these areas due to the need for affordable shelter and job opportunities for survival. These areas are very vulnerable to disasters due to their usually exposed situations. Informality as a way of life, is strongly present in informal settlements but it does not mean it is not present in all other aspects of urban areas. Informality is not a problem anymore rather a dominant type of urbanity which needs to be studied, analysed and learned from. It helps demonstrating features compatible with resilience attributes in some aspects.

This article is an inquiry into the effects of formalization of informal settlements within a resilience thinking framework. Formalization in this research includes the urban codes for regularization. Resilience is a solution for dealing with uncertainty and adaptation in complex developments. Practices such as urban planning and design codes transform the urban form. This research traces the transformations imposed by urban planning regulations for upgrading three neighbourhoods with different levels of formalization in Golestan, Tehran, Iran. It compares and studies the effects of urban upgrading processes on adaptation capacities through an urban design lens.


Resilience Regulations Formalization Informality Adaptation 



This article is extracted from a PhD dissertation for attaining the doctor of philosophy degree in the University of Melbourne supervised by professor Kim Dovey and supported by APA scholarship by the Australian government.

This paper was presented in RESURBE III Mexico international conference on Urban & Regional resilience conference and has won the RESURBE prize as Best Practice award in year 2016.

I want to express my deep gratitude to the honorable reviewers in the different stages of this article’s acceptance from RESURBE conference, to UNESCO chair for sustainability and the award for resilience 2016 and springer publications for their valuable comments and insights.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Solmaz Hosseinioon
    • 1
  1. 1.Urban Designer, Independent Urban Scholar, ResearcherMelbourneAustralia

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