Integrative Conservation of Tehran’s Oldest Qanat by Employing Historic Urban Landscape Approach

  • Narjes ZivdarEmail author
  • Ameneh Karimian
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


Qanats have played a vital role in underground water extraction since ancient times in Iran . They also have a special niche in the cultural, social, economic, political and physical landscapes of the country. There are 50,000 qanats in Iran, more than 200 of which, with a total length of 2,000 km, are in Tehran , the capital city. Over the past decades, Tehran’s urban core is exposed to development pressures which adversely affected the urban green infrastructures and specifically the qanats network. Mehrgerd is the oldest active, but also endangered qanat in Tehran, which continues to drain groundwater without any maintenance for over 60 years. However, it is nearly abandoned and needs to be conserved. In recent experiences on revitalisation of historic qanats in Iran, the focus has mainly been on physical restoration, with community engagement and sociocultural aspects mostly overlooked. This research aims at developing a process to enhance conservation of Mehrgerd qanat by rereading and rethinking its position employing Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach as set out in the 2011 UNESCO’s recommendation on this subject. To do so, the method is explained, and then, the main layers are defined and analysed based on the Heritage Impact Assessment’ (HIA) method. This mapping exercise finally leads to overlay weighted value layers for Mehrgerd’s historic urban landscape. The paper concludes that this assessment framework can be used for determining the priorities and the level of conservation in Mehrgerd green infrastructure in integration with its nearby historic urban landscape in order to preserve this exceptional urban heritage more efficiently.


Tehran’s qanat Mehrgerd Integrative conservation Historic urban landscape Heritage impact assessments 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United Nations RepresentationTehranIran
  2. 2.Shahid Beheshti UniversityTehranIran

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