Pilgrimage, power and identity of the place

Strategies for future development of Mashhad as a sustainable religious city

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The city of Mashhad as the second biggest city in Iran is an example of global city which religion shaped the identity and spatial configuration of the city. Mashhad is as an example of pilgrimage sites in the Middle East that globalization or the religion transform whole structure of local fabric and polarized the city. The wave of globalization has affected the whole aspects of this metropolis, especially its growth and development as well as its dominant ideas of city-planning, so that, many aspects of these effects are observable in the city. The Holy Shrine of the 8th Shiites’ Imam is located in the centre of the old radius nucleus of the city, with 16 million pilgrims per year. The city has witnessed rapid growth in the last two decades, mostly because of its religious attractions. Changing from a traditional walled city in beginning of 16th century to the second biggest city in Iran, (rural-urban migration process) transformation (modernization, technologisation, globalization) has left many spatial and social consequences inside the city. The aim of this research is, to unveil or to describe the complex and wide process of globalization, in its different dimensions, as well as its space-place effects on Islamic cities, especially the metropolis of Mashhad. The research tries to indicate that this process has had a mutual performance in various technologic, economic and cultural dimensions, the negative effects of globalization include abnormal growth of city- dwelling, increase of slums and segregation, increase of rural migrants to cities, traffic problem and so on in the cities of Islamic world, like Mashhad.