By Fariba Adelkhah, Fondation nationale des sciences politiques. Centre d'études et de recherches internationales

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Those spaces have become de facto extensions of family space, made inevitable by the housing shortage in the present situation of inflation and economic crisis; people take their children there and meet there to relax. As this has become a regular habit, and as the public gardens are nearby, many have the feeling that it is ' like home' . But it may be worth noting that the municipal authority 's gardeners are good at encouraging such a feeling; the green open spaces are cleverly divided into numerous bdqcheh, well suited, if not to flirtation, at least to meetings, conversation and picnics.

The city air makes the inhabitants - especially those coming from the countryside - ' social ' people : in Persian adam, in the sense in which one speaks of iidam-e ejtemii 'i, the social being. In this sense the development of Islamic Iran is no different from that discerned by Serif Mardin in 42. M. Weber, La Ville, Paris, Aubier Montaigne, 1 982, p. 1 79. 43 In Tehran the public parks are an important force backing up this social change, and we have seen how they are now a burden on the city finances on their own.

But it should be recalled that Mr. Karbaschi fought his first campaign in Isfahan and is widely imitated today by provincial city authorities. Emulation among regional capitals has encouraged the adoption of bureaucratic modernisation of city dwellers ' space. There is a true interaction between the reforming will of mayors and the expectations - confused and contradictory as they may still be - of the people they govern. 25. To adopt the very good expression used by Paul Zumthor about the Middle Ages: La Mesure du monde, Paris, Le Seuil, 1 993.

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