Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Planning processes in Iran


Explain what challenges exist in implementing planning practices in Iran. Include an example.

20 comments:

  1. In Iran, governance is highly centralised. Only central government has the power to pass laws, regulate the countries budget, and hand down binding directives and decrees to local government. Consequently, this has resulted in not only a centralised system, but a hierarchical administrative system which slows down the process of decision-making and causes delays and inefficiencies. This is compounded by the growing influence of the Islamic City Councils on the municipal operations of Iran. So, for example, if we were to implement planning practices such as Strategic Environmental Assessments, we would have major challenges on two fronts;

    1)The centralised Iranian government does not pay enough attention to the local needs of people, and thus environmental issues specific to local environments
    2)If the proposed planning practices are inconsistent with the ideologies of members of the Islamic City Councils, they could veto your work by claiming it is inconsistent with Shariah laws.

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  2. Ziteng (Jim) Zhan 1203221October 4, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    I personally believe Iran is a ideologically blended country because its religion is so mixed with the political mechanism to a point that over the vast majority of Iranian calls themselves Islamic while ‘praying during the day and naughty by night’ in order to “fit themselves into the sheep covering” (workforce) so to get socially accepted. I might be wrong in this scenario but I seriously believe a high degree of informing decision making through to manipulation exist in Iran as much decision-making power were held by the leaders in governance in this Iranian hierarchical structure, giving little control to their Islamic citizen. Through my personal lens, I perceive the nation of Muslim were largely brain-washed according to the number of followers exceed that of any other religion. Such eye popping figure towards the number of Muslim is supportive to a rational conclusion that the government of Iran is making a good use of the Islamic by treating the Islam religion as a tool to marginalise their citizen into participating the dirty work planned by the Iran governance. A real lack of consultation.

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  3. Ziteng (Jim) Zhan 1203221October 4, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    In addition to my explanation above, the key challenges Islamic encountered was to implement man-made laws into the Islamic governing policies. Second to that is the challenge to apply the conservative approach as a planning instrument to resolve for the poor settlements. Also, the radical approach to solve problem for the mentally ill. Of all the principles, the idea to practise Ihsan is essential which meant to do the best everywhere.

    An example of a key western-style principles (SEA) within the islamic framework capture the importance of worshiping at a Sharah place (law).

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  4. Jim turning up the heat, shit just got real!

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  5. ^This blog needs a 'like' button for comments

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  6. "Praying during the day and naughty by night."

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  7. Iran is a country that is deep-rooted in a top down approach of governance. Central government has the exclusive power to pass laws, they regulate the country’s finances and lower levels of authority such as local government are subordinate to central government. These pose immense challenges for implementing planning practices in Iran as it leads to very little, if any citizen participation. The hierarchic system in place leads to a delay in the decision making process. Other challenges include the knowledge division between those who prepare development plans and those who implement them. There is not enough integration between the plans thus leading to contradictions and uncertainty. Participation at the local level are ignored and as locals are not given the opportunity to participate, the needs of the local people are not met or disregarded completely.

    gng017, 1579720.

    Mohammadi, H. (2010). Citizen Participation in Urban Planning and Management: The Case of Iran, Shiraz City, Saadi Community. PhD Thesis. University of Kassel.

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  8. Comprehensive planning has remained the dominant paradigm for developing urban plans in Iran, and has raised many challenges in terms of its weak and undeveloped system. Iran’s top down governmental structure has led to the lack of integration, cooperation and political instability between different planning organizations. Furthermore, public opinion is neglected due to there being no distinct mechanism that recongises public participation in plan preparation and implementation. The development of urban plans has therefore become very general and lack coordination with many specific needs on the ground.

    Implementing a strategic approach in place of these planning practices will overcome the many challenges of comprehensive planning, as it establishes a strategic structure that will help organisations determine clear long-term goals and objectives. Strategic planning will therefore bring forth a more goal-orientated process, promote relationship building, and encourage local participation in Iran’s planning procedures.

    Reference:

    Farhoodi, R., Gharakhlou-N, G., Ghadami, M., & Panahandeh, M. (2009). A Critique of the Prevailing Comprehensive Urban Planning Paradigm in Iran: the Need for Strategic Planning. Planning Theory 2009, 8, pp.335-361.

    zyan070, 1583674

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  9. Administrative system in Iran has such characteristics that have raised many challenges in implementing comprehensive planning practice for developing Iran in more sustainable way. Governance in Iran is highly centralised and its centralised administrative system have gone throughout history up until establishment of cities and towns. The power to pass laws is only vested in the central government, and directives and decrees to local organisations are issued by the central government. Also auditing function is undertaken by the central government examining income and expenditure of government organisations. Absolute sovereignty lays on the central government subordinating local organisations. Consequently, this has resulted inefficiency in the process of decision making which pays little attention to the local needs of people and cause delays. Thus inconsistent socio-economic policy has been brought up causing extreme inequality between the least and the most developed regions. The official figure puts that income poverty in Iran is around 18%, which is high when compared to other oil-producing countries (OPEC) of the region, and 30% of population is below. (Hayati et al., 2006, p362) Also 30% of population in Iran is experiencing below the absolute poverty and as much as 50% of population is below the relatively poverty line. (Hayati et al., 2006, p363)

    Hayati, D., Karami, E., Slee, B. (2006). Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in the Measurement of Rural Poverty: The Case of Iran. Social Indicators Research, 75(3), pp.361-394.

    mlee243, 1499763

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  10. Iran, as a theocratic regime, operates within an entirely different political rationality and notion of civil society from what many of us as ‘westerners’ deem normal. The country faces significant challenges in implementing planning practices. Some of these include:

    • The considerable role of the executive power in all urban planning and management decisions.
    • The role of Islam/ religious values in decision-making.
    • The development of isolated regional development projects.
    • The increasing growth of spontaneous informal settlements.

    An example of one of these challenges is the failure to be able to successfully implement and execute urban development plans. This is a result of the increasing loss of ‘faith’ in the government to take into consideration the needs and values of locals. This loss of faith is due to the influence of Islam as not only a guide for decision making but as a governance tool itself. With out this public participation, the decision making process is not seen as legitimate and as a result the government is unable to develop influential, effective and efficient planning systems and processes.

    Sources:
    Amirahmadi. H. 1986, ‘Regional Planning in Iran: A survey of problems and policies’, The Journal of Developing Areas, 20 (4), p. 501-530

    Mohammadi. H. 2010, Citizen Participation in Urban Planning and Management: The Case of Iran, Shiraz City, Saadi Community, Kassel University Press, Germany


    Kdur008
    1518944

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  11. Iran has a highly centralized administrative system, which have raised many challenges in its planning practice. The central government has the absolute power to pass laws, regulate the government finances and decrees to local government and other planning organizations. This centralized administrative system, or more correctly, a hierarchic system, leads to a delay of decision-making and gives an ineffective and inefficient planning system. Furthermore, the centralized administrative system also cuts off the connection and ability between different planning organizations and decreases the availability of public participations. And because of this lack of participation at the local level, the needs of local people are mostly ignored and they do not have a chance to speak out what they need, which will finally lead to the failure of social wellbeing to the whole society. Overall, the development of sustainable society and sustainable urban planning in Iran has been limited due to this.
    Mohammadi. H. 2010, Citizen Participation in Urban Planning and Management: The Case of Iran, Shiraz City, Saadi Community, Kassel University Press, Germany

    khu009 1538849

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  12. Matthew Zochowski (5333365)October 16, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    The Islamic Republic of Iran is a theocratic state that combines parts of Islamic law (Sharia) with parts of democracy. This divides power between a supreme religious leader that enforces sharia, which guides all aspects of Muslim life including daily routines, familial and religious obligations, and financial dealings, and the president of Iran. This administrative system is highly centralized and thus planning takes a strictly top-bottom approach. Planners are also often unable to implement comprehensive plans if they are found to not be following Islamic laws and principles. Citizen participation is limited and thus the government fails to address local issues.

    In the case of informal settlements, the government inadequately deals with issues of housing. Instead of getting at the heart of informal settlements and dealing with lack of housing or land ownership rights, the government follows existing laws that prohibit informal settlement. Public participation could show that continuous evictions and informal settlement destruction is inefficient and ineffective and different solutions should be explored.

    Farhoodi, R., Gharakhlou-N, G., Ghadami, M., & Panahandeh, M. (2009). A Critique of the Prevailing Comprehensive Urban Planning Paradigm in Iran: the Need for Strategic Planning. Planning Theory 2009, 8, pp.335-361.

    Mohammadi. H. 2010, Citizen Participation in Urban Planning and Management: The Case of Iran, Shiraz City, Saadi Community, Kassel University Press, Germany

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  13. One planning challenge in Iran is that an official interpretation of the Qur'an cannot be criticized, or if it is, the criticizer puts him/herself at risk of being labelled a blasphemer. This is an issue as much of Iran's laws are based on these interpretations so by being unable to criticize an interpretation of the Qur'an, the general public is also unable to criticize government or legislation.

    This means that planners, policy makers, and government officials cannot be held accountable or be forced to justify their decisions in terms of secular sensibility. As mentioned in previous posts,many people who appear to be Muslims in Iran may not necessarily follow the word of The Prophet Muhammad in reality. This allows planners to act without fear of divine retribution, yet still use the theocratic system in which they operate to their advantage. This allows for planning which may be self-serving or contradictory.

    An example of this is that the Qur'an clearly states that all people are equal in the eyes of Allah, yet there is a distinct lack of rights given to certain people in reality, such as those residing in informal settlements.


    Matthew T.W. Youl 1583666

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  14. There are many challenges that face implementation of planning practices in Iran. It is unique, in the fact that the decision making system is influenced by Islamic values. The administrative system is highly centralised and it is a top down structure where plans can also be overridden at any stage. This results in a long, slow process with not very many positive outcomes. In addition to this, very low public participation means that it is hard to implement plans effectively that are compatible with the community. Through the Iranian revolution, tension with the governance system escalated where the public seemed to have lost faith in the system. The inefficient and ineffective use of plan has resulted in unsustainable development presented in informal housing, social segregation and separation of communities. Better integration between the central and local government is needed especially as the try to implement principles derived from western culture (e.g. SEA).

    Mohammadi. H. 2010, Citizen Participation in Urban Planning and Management: The Case of Iran, Shiraz City, Saadi Community, Kassel University Press, Germany

    Jessica Parulian - 1598075

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  15. The governance system in Iran is characterised by its centralised power that has power over the passing and interpretation of Islamic law which has created challenges in implementing planning practices in the country. One of the major challenges created by this form of governance is the inability of the people and communities to participate in decision-making processes. There are no mechanisms that enable private sector and public participation in plan preparation due to this hierarchical system which leaves local governance with little power, bound to the direction taken by central government. This inefficiency in dealing with the needs of the public due to lack of administrative support has resulted in the ineffectiveness of plans with flow on effects such as the growing number of informal settlements. There is a need for better strategic co-ordination and direction that encourages public participation so that the needs of the people can be better addressed.

    swil403
    ID:1666568

    reference:
    Mohammadi. H. 2010, Citizen Participation in Urban Planning and Management: The Case of Iran, Shiraz City, Saadi Community, Kassel University Press, Germany

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  16. pbro820, 5971615

    There are two key issues within the planning system of Iran that stem from the very centralised political system by which the country operates. The challenge for future planning in the country is to overcome these two issues, either by adapting or completely restructuring. They are:

    -A top down approach which implements policies that are too general, failing to recognise that local demands and necessities often vary between settlements.

    -A fragmented policy system, whereby there is little cohesion between the various sectors that are involved in the planning process.

    A good example of the limitations of the planning system in Iran can be seen in how it has responded to the informal settlements occupied by the Shaadi Community in Shiraz City. Planning that attempted to lessen the intensity of these developments failed to create any organised policies that encouraged public participation. This was largely due to the fragmented policy making system, which made it difficult to link the formal and informal sectors of planning.

    Mohammadi. H. 2010, Citizen Participation in Urban Planning and Management: The Case of Iran, Shiraz City, Saadi Community, Kassel University Press, Germany

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  17. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a centralised and hierarchical political structure which is strongly influenced by Islam and Shariah laws. Many challenges exist in implementing planning practices in Iran due to this structure, as decisions can be overruled if they are not in keeping with the ideologies of the Islamic Councils. These laws are based on an interpretation of the Quran, and cannot be challenged. This, combined with a total disregard for local communities and public participation, has led to a slow and incompetent decision-making process. Unsustainable developments in the form of informal housing settlements are a result of the lack of attention paid to the needs of local people, which leads to health problems. To overcome these challenges Iran needs a coordinated and effective strategic approach to planning, which is decentralised and actively encourages public participation.

    Raheel Khan 1539665

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  18. Iran has a highly centralised government that does not allow local councils to have much control on what happens within their area. This in turn means that there are no ways of dealing with small local issues. They can only be dealt with on a broad scale, this means that there are no tailored solutions, only a 'one solution to fix them all' approach. Already the needs of the local communities are not being addressed by the current structure of governance in Iran, especially as there is no/very little form of citizen participation, so their needs are not being heard.

    As seen in Shiraz City, the local government would have been able to deal with these informal settlements if the central government allowed better communication between government organisations, and that dealing with issues from a top-down approach does not always work best for the country


    gben039 1577143

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  19. The primary obstruction to planning practice in Iran is the concentration of power within the Government. The absolute control over all decision making is surprising, and the lack of any checks-and-balances within the system essentially undermines any attempts by planners at affecting meaningful change, as any plans or initiatives can be overruled at any stage. The recent introduction of smaller Local Authorities appeared promising, but has become ineffective as they are preforming primarily administrative functions. This opportunity to interact with local communities is going to waste, and by removing public consultation from the planning system the citizens of Iran lose control over the direction of the country.

    While the Muslim religion is said to guide the state, I believe the religious aspect of this system is not entirely responsible for the ineffectiveness of planning within Iran, and instead the actions of those in power have resulted in a move towards a communist-operated Government.

    Jessica Esquilant
    1506142

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  20. Zoeya Kamal 1462661October 18, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Implementing planning practices in Iran seems to be a difficult task mainly because the Islamic Republic of Iran is a theocratic state that integrates Sharia law with democracy. What the Iran government have done is that they have based their laws on an interpretation of the Qur'an. This in turn limits public participation from the Iran people as critiquing the words of the Qur'an is seen as committing a form of blasphemy. In addition, it has allowed any decisions or plans to be overridden at any stage since the Sharia law has created a top down structural process. Due to this mix of religion and democracy, implementing planning practices have become slow and usually take a long time to finalize on planning decisions. As a result of this, issues of community isolation, informal housing and social segregation have been created. Iran needs to start listening to the needs of the people and not allow religion to mix with democracy as this has only led to Iranians losing faith in both the government and the religion itself.


    Mohammadi. H. 2010, Citizen Participation in Urban Planning and Management: The Case of Iran, Shiraz City, Saadi Community, Kassel University Press, Germany

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