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There is widespread recognition that today we are living in a period of profound technological, social, economic and political changes, and this process is accelerating. There is less certainty about the nature and meaning of these changes, whether they should be regulated or liberalized, supported or resisted, and the sort of world they are leading to.

Despite differences in the attitude toward these changes, several fundamental processes or trends can be identified that are dramatically involved in transforming the existing world into a new one.  These processes are:

Constant rapid urbanization of the world's population, particularly in developing countries;

Globalization of economic, social, cultural and political activities;

Intensifying rate of environmental crises; there is no doubt that the developing countries encountering these trends and processes have to suffer from such problems and struggle with challenges.

Along with many other disciplines and professional activities, efforts have also been made in the field of architecture and urban design during the last decade or so to explore appropriate ways and means within the field to deal with these problems and challenges. Architecture and urban design professionals have also attempted to identify the potential contribution architecture and urban design can make to alter the existing trend and facilitate the achievement of sustainability in urban areas. The degree of success, however, has not been the same in all countries and unquestionably not in all areas.  The gap between theory and practice, however, remains critically vast everywhere.


Hossein Bahrainy, Ph.D.

Professor of Urban Design and Planning

University of Tehran


Director of Sustainable Architecture and Urban Design Department