Policy Making in the field of Urban Gardens and Agricultural Lands' Preservation- Case Study : Region 1, 2 and 18 of Tehran

The green areas of Tehran as the main natural resources of the city have constantly been destroyed by different economic, ecological, social and legal factors. From 1955 to 2000 more than half of the urban gardens and three quarter of the farmland have disappeared in Tehran. From 1955 to 2000 more than half of the urban gardens and three quarter of the farmland have disappeared in Tehran. Due to the new acts and regulations of the municipality on selling density and land use conversion to cover the city expenses this procedure has worsened since 2000. At the same time, the population has increased from 1.51 to 7.02 million people in this period of time. As a result, the city authorities are confronted by complications to provide Tehran with sufficient urban services, infrastructures, food and natural resources. One of the consequences of this negative cycle has been air pollution. In 1999 the Department of the Environment of Islamic Republic of Iran announced that the costs of Tehran’s Air Quality improvements have been estimated to be $ 1.9 billion in a 10 year plan. Moreover, it has to be mentioned that according to the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) Iran is on the list of the ten largest CO_2 emitters. These countries account for more than 60 percent of global emissions. Therefore, their future willingness and ability to pursue a sustainable climate policy is a requirement to avoid a highly dangerous level of climate change. The socioeconomic effects of the lack of green open spaces in the city, the huge change in the appealing image of old Tehran and the psychological impacts on people’s lives are side effects which have been forgotten in comparison to the serious irreversible impacts the green land destruction has brought to the city. Most of the people have lost the emotional connectivity to urban ecology and the place they live; On the other hand, land price has increased dramatically in the last decade in Tehran and land speculation itself, especially in the regions with higher amounts of green areas have been one of the reasons of green lands destruction as well. Although the green lands’ destruction is perceived as an ecological problem, it has to be solved by taking into consideration all the above mentioned aspects of the complex urban system. Therefore, the theoretical basis has been developed upon the four modified interdisciplinary dimensions of sustainable development: social-cultural, economic-financial, institutional-juristical and eco-urban factors. In this research, at the first stage the different factors which have had influence on the urban gardens and agricultural lands’ destruction have been derived; at the second stage the DPSIR model has been developed and the derived factors have been categorized by AHP model which have been formed according to the theoretical basis. The final policies to preserve urban gardens and farmlands in Tehran have been presented in three scale levels: macro, meso and micro scale. The framework of the policy-making is based on the weight and importance of the 62 sub-criteria according to AHP model results in Expert Choice. At the macro scale the general aims in the four sustainable dimensions are discussed, whereas in the meso scale “The introduction to Tehran Preservation Act” has been presented and at the micro scale the policies have been developed in each region according to the local socio-economic, cultural, urban and ecological characteristics. TPI or Tehran Preservation Institute has to be established with the new management structure which has been formed by taking into consideration the successful concrete universal examples and the unsuccessful Iranian plans/laws. Since the results of the methodology show that the economic-financial and institutional-juristical factors have the highest influence on the green lands’ administration in Tehran, at the end a brief summary of the suggestions for the new sustainable municipality revenues have been also discussed. As a result, the multidimensional and interdisciplinary policy making which is a new approach in preserving the green lands in Tehran has been implemented according to local characteristics, universal concrete projects, aerial photos analysis, local plans, experts’ ideas and comparison study with successful cities.


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