Explaining the Factors and Consequences of Rent on Urban Spaces (Case Study: Tabriz City)

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Geography and Urban Planning, Faculty of Planning and Environmental Sciences, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran



In its general sense, rent is a non-productive and competitive product that is achieved through natural or artificial scarcity. In urban issues, changing the objective function of urban management to make a profit that harms the public interest can be considered Rent. Capitalism targets the artificial environment and produces space to continue the cycle of capital accumulation.

The result of the movement of capital in the artificial environment is a fundamental spatial constraint on scarce urban resources and facilities, which leads to the deprivation of some against the deprivation of another.

The reckless circulation of capital in the second cycle and urban spaces is a factor for residential segregation, types of rents, the tendency to integrate the capitalist structure, unequal development of urban spaces and the classification of society.

In the meantime, urban management, with its regulatory nature in this unequal competition, must consider the public interest and act in order to balance public and private goals.

In countries based on oil economics, with the discovery of oil and the extraction of oil revenues since the early 20th century, a change in these countries' urban systems has emerged and led to a deeper connection between these countries and capitalist relations.

In other words, in metropolises that are dependent on the oil economy, the discovery of oil is a turning point in their urban development, which links urbanization with the mechanisms of the capitalist and liberal schools. As a result, urban management becomes a model known as a rentier, which urban management does not act as a regulator but as an actor in the competition for urban space.

In other words, urban management goes beyond its regulatory path and acts in the direction of the goals and interests of capitalism or, at the very least, specific individuals and groups. This is due to the fact that rentier urban management makes itself dependent on the construction market, by removing people from the management and participation cycle and thus eliminating toll and tax revenues, which in order to maintain this revenue must provide urban spaces to capital to make money from this.

What is discussed as the main issue in this study is the behavior of this phenomenon and its process in the urban management organization and for more scrutinizing the research issue in the context of urban space, the phenomenon has been considered in the urban management system of Tabriz metropolis.


The Current research approach is a qualitative type, which has been done by the method of grounded theory. According to this method, the data collected by in-depth interviews are analyzed in three stages open coding, axial coding, and selective coding, and then the theory is discovered about the understudied phenomenon. The main data source in the data-driven method is an interview, which has been interviewed along with documentary sources in the Current study.

These interviews are exploratory, and after each interview, the data obtained from them are encoded. After conducting the interviews and analyzing the responses, the categories were identified and placed under the causal conditions, contextual conditions, intervening conditions, core phenomena, strategies and consequences.

Results and discussion

Based on the analysis performed and the results obtained, the causal conditions that cause the phenomenon of rentier in the Urban Management Organization of Iran include; 1- Centralized administrative structure 2- Oil economy 3- Legal grounds and context 4- Weakness in the traditions of collective action 5- Economic adjustment policy and 6- Government downsizing policy.

The phenomenon of rent in urban management, according to its characteristics, causes the waste of city resources. Part of this waste has been in the shadow of the commodification of urban space, as a result, urban space is invaded and occupied like a commodity under the control of the capital, and is transformed. In this process, individuals and groups tend to rent based on their abilities and capabilities, such as business capital or personal and group relationships, which in the long run will become a culture. As a result, local city management, which is responsible for regulating the relationship between the use of the city and creating a balance between private and public goals, faces public dissatisfaction and the continuation of the local city management and inability to solve problems, leads to reducing trust and social capital at various levels.

Based on the research results, the type of strategy adopted to deal with the rent phenomenon depends on 1- the sensitivity of regulatory bodies 2- public reaction and desire, and 3- organizational will, which can be described as the underlying conditions.

Intervention conditions under the headings; 1- Superior rules 2- Administrative structure 3- External relations 4- Internal relations are labeled.

Finally, the strategies extracted in five codes include; 1- Strengthening the institutionalization of urban management 2- Support-seeking 3- Transparency 4- Indifference and 5- Accompanying.


It seems that the experience of Iran's urban management, especially at the local level, has not been successful in practice because it has been implemented in a centralized legal and administrative context and even based on the preference and recognition of centralized bureaucracy and not the potential and attraction of society. And always due to the lack of effective participation of people based on historical backgrounds and other factors, has been a place for the phenomenon of rent. In this process, the element of urban management and the private sector encourages the commodification of the urban space and seeks to change it not in the public interest but the interest of some groups. The city management's assumption of the city leads to daily life in decision and action and the continuation of the fundamental issues and problems of the city. An example of this for the metropolis of Tabriz has been the continuation and even expansion of the phenomenon of Slums in recent decades.


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