New urban Settlements in the ecological context

• In the Iranian public media, it was widely reported that by the end of 2004, 380 hectares of the eastern farthest end of the Peninsula Mianqala (northern part of Iran, located in the southeastern coasts of Caspian Sea) were sold to an organisation – the result is that "Asurada" Island will be turned into a so-called “Tourist Village”. The decision has been made and civil works are to begin. The village planned as a new settlement is specifically considered to work with Mianqala, which since June 1976 is an international biosphere reserve and since 1969, an Iranian nature protected area. Considering the special condition of the region as a biosphere reserve, this paper introduces the current situation of the Island Āŝūrāda and the suggested program by the aforementioned organisation. Subsequently, it tries to find an optimal answer to the question of whether "Āŝūrāda" is appropriate for such a purpose and how far it is allowed to be interfered with, through this new settlement. The paper asserts for this development, there is consideration of the settlement’s urban and architectural concept; subsequently analysis is conducted for the spatial development of the settlement, in terms of its influences on the ecological sources, the rural structure and the financial as well as social aspects. Such study is required, particularly due to the chain of tourist influences, which certainly will introduce a new pattern of urban character in terms of quality and quantity. Finally, with the assistance of the case presented, this paper poses the question of whether a new urban pattern like this can endanger a traditional and above all a nature protected context or not.

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