This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book aims to advance a view of cities in the Middle East that goes beyond the scope of contemporary research which is profoundly limited by certain long-standing assumptions embedded in urban theory – assumptions that propose the fundamental incommensurability of different kinds of cities. It attempts to acknowledge a more complex notion of urbanity in the Middle East. The book focuses both on the symbolic and tangible construction of place in cities. It argues that Tehran’s development after being selected as the Persian capital in 1788 was, from the beginning, primarily and essentially a modern project that was intended to transform the city into a manifestation of a functioning utopia. The book provides insights into the emerging urban fabrics of Turkey’s cities and their dystopic spatial and discursive arrangements.