Negative building trends in the early years of independence had serious effects on the architectural and aesthetic quality of Azerbaijan’s cities, towns and settlements. This was the background to the Law on Architecture (1998) and the Law on Town Planning (1999), both of which set out to stop the downward slide caused by a lack of proper control, to restore architectural harmony, and to preserve for future generations the architectural heritage which, over the centuries, has given Azerbaijani cities their unique character. To ensure that this character is enhanced and preserved, the Act allows foreigners or foreign legal entities to realise architectural projects only in co-operation with Azerbaijani nationals or legal entities. The Law on Town Planning aims at optimum population distribution, lays down standards for building and for territorial and urban planning, and regulates the conservation of historic, cultural and natural monuments. Both texts make for consistent and harmonious architectural development and for effective solutions to the problems of city management.