Cast out of Heaven - PhMuseum

Cast out of Heaven

Hashem Shakeri

2019 - Ongoing

Iran; Tehrān, Iran

Cast out of Heaven

The current U.S. sanctions against Iran and the subsequent drastic drop in the value of the Iranian currency are fueling skyrocketing housing prices in Iran. This is forcing many Tehraners to leave the capital without any intention of coming back ever again. Under the present circumstances, tenants are looking to move to satellite towns to cut down on accommodation costs. The Mehr Housing Project initiated in 2007 as the largest state-funded housing project in the history of Iran. What followed was rapid urban population growth and the construction of new towns. However, sufficient measures were not taken to ensure healthy living conditions for those who came to inhabit these new towns. Suffering critical shortcomings are Parand, Pardis and Hashtgerd, three newly-constructed towns on the margins of Tehran. These are huge islands of soaring skyscrapers and indiscriminately developed apartments filled with crowds of people and cars. They begin but seem to have no end. Besides the huge population of Tehraners, people from all over Iran are migrating to these new towns. These are notorious for social pathologies, like high rates of suicide among pupils and drug abuse. The residents of Parand talk about how the town’s population has doubled over the past six months, reaching 200,000. Yet, the town can hardly provide educational, social and health care services for 10,000. Sleep-deprived newcomers leave early in the morning to get to their workplaces in the capital over daily commuting distances of 2-3 hours. The relentless repetition of this timeless cycle makes them more alienated and more frustrated day by day. And that is not all. A great part of the population is on the verge of alienation and frustration but for a quite contrasting reason: escalating unemployment. Here is the land of those cast out of their heaven – the metropolitan Tehran. And they all share the bitterness of the fall.

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  • A view of half-constructed buildings in the new town of Pardis. Pardis is located 17 km northeast of Tehran province. Although some parts of the town have been already settled, almost half of the buildings in the town are yet to be completed. Many of the apartments are owned by people who had pre-purchased them many years ago and are still waiting for their apartments to be completed so they can move in. However, the timing of the completion is being constantly postponed.

  • The Abroodi’s are having a weekend picnic on the plains just across their building on the occasion of hosting a close family member in Parand. “It’s the furthest the poor can go for a picnic,” the mother says, laughing, as she is cooking some broth on fire for lunch. Parand is located 30 km southwest of Tehran province. The Abroodi’s moved here from Sabzevar four years ago. Mr. Abroodi spends 3-4 hours commuting to work to Tehran and back home on weekdays. So far, no subway line has been constructed for the distance between Tehran and the new town of Parand.

  • A movable fruit stall under a billboard depicting the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the entrance to the new town of Parand. This town is located 30 km southwest of Tehran province. Hossein, 30, works as a fruit seller. “I’ve put up my stall here today so I’d be blessed by the leader,'' he says. The residents of Parand buy fruits and vegetables daily from movable grocery stalls. The billboard says "Happy New Solar Year, the year of support for Iranian products”

  • Maghsoud, 54, is trying to light his cigarette using a magnifier and the sunlight in the new town of Parand. Parand is located 30 km southwest of Tehran province.
    Maghsoud, who suffers from heart disease, works as a street vendor (selling snacks) in order to make ends meet.

  • A statue of Amir Kabir in the new town of Pardis. Pardis is located 17 km northeast of Tehran province.
    Amir Kabir was Iran's prime minister during the rule of King Naser al-Din of Qajar Dynasty.
    He was deposed from his post due to deception and double-dealing in the court and was exiled to Kashan. He was murdered in Fin Bath on an order issued by King Naser al-Din.

  • A view of construction residues in the new town of Pardis. Pardis is located 17 kilometers northeast of Tehran province. All the settlements of this town have been constructed in the heart of nature by flattening mountains, which will certainly cause climate change in the near future.

  • A portrait of Dorna and Sevda, both 12, walking around the town on a weekend. The new town of Parand is located 30 km southwest of Tehran province. There is literally no entertainment or programs for children and adolescents here. Many of them tend to become affected by depression a while after settlement.

  • A view of half-constructed buildings in the new town of Pardis. Pardis is located 17 km northeast of Tehran province.

  • Hossein, 55, Najib, 24, Farshad, 21, and Ahmad, 19, who have recently migrated from Afghanistan to Iran, work as street sweepers in the new town of Pardis. Since the Iranian economy started going down, there is no way for them to save money from their monthly salary and send it to their families in Afghanistan. They even hardly cover the costs of their own livelihoods here.

  • An empty billboard on the westernmost district of Tehran, leading to the new city of Hashtgerd. The margins of Tehran are moving farther away every day due to excessive construction.

  • Hassan Azizi and his wife, both 44, are spending their Friday out in front of their house in the new town of Parand. Having played volleyball, they're getting some rest.
    The Azizis moved here six months ago and they hope to see the routes around the house paved with asphalt soon.
    Although many of the newly established apartments in Parand have been sold to families who have already moved in, many streets have'nt been paved yet. Besides, many apartments are left unfinished and there is no entertainment, nothing to do in one's free time.

  • A family is putting away its tent after having camped in the mountains just outside the new town of Parand. Parand is located 30 km southwest of Tehran province.

  • Parents pushing their children on the swing, in the only park in Abshenasan town. There is literally no entertainment or programs for children and adolescents here.

  • The workers are busy working in the 6th phase of the new town of Parand, where the buildings are still under construction. Parand is located 30 km southwest of Tehran province. The minimum wage of workers in Iran is about $3 a day, which does not cover even their most basic citizenship rights.

  • Toilet sinks on sale at the beginning of the road that leads to the new town of Parand. Families who have just settled in can buy a set or two at a cheaper price here.
    The new town of Parand is located 30 kilometers southwest of Tehran province

  • A mosque located among tall buildings in the new town of Parand. Parand is located 30 km southwest of Tehran province.

  • The remnant of the hill which is destroyed for construction. Parand

  • Hossein, 28, is selling balloons on the Thursday Market in the new town of Parand. Parand is located 30 km southwest of Tehran province Hossein’s main profession is cabinet building but just to make ends meet, he has to work as a peddler on the Thursday Market too.

  • A view of decorative spinning tops in the new city of Pardis. Pardis is located 17 kilometers northeast of Tehran province.


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