From nahalal to danesfahan: The transfer of Israeli modern rurality to village planning in Iran

Neta Feniger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In 1963, the State of Israel sent a technical assistance mission to the rural region of Qazvin, Iran. Exporting its newly developed knowledge of rural regional planning was Israel’s way of securing the fragile relationship with Iran. The mission’s objectives included the development of a comprehensive regional plan, and designs for three villages, planned anew, which were to serve as prototypes for other villages to be constructed in the region. The mission’s architects noted the need to create a rural character for the villages, and had a clear image of what would create this —trees. This was despite the fact that trees were not a common feature of the region’s villages. This article describes the landscape planning of the modern villages conceived for Qazvin by the Israeli mission. It reveals that, while the Israeli architects were committed to planning villages that related to local ways of life and traditions, the image of the village they proposed for Iran was based on the rurality that villages in Israel encompass. The text explores the formation of this image of rurality. It locates the origins of this image in the 1920s Zionist colonisation of Palestine, tracing its development as an important frontier during Israel’s nation-building period: one that with time came to symbolise Israel as a rural-yet-modern new nation. This concept, of ‘modern rurality’, was thus transferred to the modernisation of rural Iran. The architects failed to see rurality as specific to a place; they did not recognise that their image of rurality was a modern construct developed in Israel. Along these lines, the article reflects on the transnational effect of the creation of a modern village.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-391
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Architecture
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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