Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Contemporary urban planning in Iran

What is the extent of public participation in urban planning in Iran? What challenges does this create? Give an example.


  1. Comprehensive planning is used in Iran, which assists the largely hierarchal, top-down system. Central government forms comprehensive/master plans, hold almost all decision making power (including budgetary and law making) and assemble local authorities. Consequentially, public participation in planning is limited to the extent that the people have very little control and decision-making power. Without a voice in the election of local authorities, their role is reduced in planning. Lack of regard for public participation results in poor implementation of plans, due to lack of understanding the realistic ability of the people to implement the plan leads to abandonment of plans.

    Cassandra Ng

  2. Kasey Zhai 1838497October 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    In Iran, opportunities for public participation in urban planning are limited. Central government holds significant decision making power and legal autonomy, and local bodies do not have the authority to address planning issues. This can be challenging because policy makers are not afforded with the opportunity to understand sub-national or sub-regional issues; plans experience implementation difficulties and limited success because they are not contextualised to regional conditions and circumstances. E.g. the 2007 Tehran comprehensive plan was criticised for being too vague, while the revised 2010 plan has proven to be unrealistic, particularly those provisions regarding the creation of green space.

    Kasey Zhai

  3. Iran’s administrative system is characterized by the centralized and hierarchic structure. The top-down approach greatly limits the legal autonomy and authority of local organizations. Public does not have much role and participation in planning decision making as most local authority is derived from the central government.
    The lack of public participation in planning process leads to idealism in policy making that does not have sufficient understanding of the local issues and availability of resource. An example is the 2010 Tehran comprehensive plan which was criticized for being overly reliance on model frameworks that it fails to realistically assess the ability of implementation at local level.

    Qiaochu Li

  4. The government system in Iran has almost absolute sovereignty over control of planning and decision-making process, leaving local government and the public powerless in political participation. This is illustrated by the fact that all sorts of power are vested in central government, such as passing laws, forming administrative organizations, regulating national budget, auditing national resources. The challenges lie in that the needs of local people are not taken into consideration of the planning and decision-making system to a large extent due to the use of comprehensive planning and the stringent control by central govt in terms of legal, organizational, administrative, and funding aspects. E.g. A scrutiny of provision for financial resources from 1956 to 2000 suggests no provisions at central govt were made to implement the plan at local level. The Tehran Comprehensive Plan was also criticized to be too idealistic to be carried out in some aspects.

    ID: 5741596

  5. There is very limited public participation in Iran’s urban planning because central government has strong authority in decision-making. Local government has rare power to involve into any planning issues in comprehensive planning.

    Devolution of power to lower levels is a big challenge for Iran because the centralized and hierarchic administrative system that made by history and culture leads a very low public participation and local issues hardly to get efficient result in public. 2010 Tehran comprehensive plan is one example which was criticised for being unreality and idealistic to implement.

    Simiao Zou

  6. Iran's comprehensive planning paradigm is a top down approach as the government addresses local issues too. Central government is directly involved with all aspects of the country's administrative systems from law making to administrative recruitment/dismissal. Overall, there is little public participation in planning especially as the general public are not involved in the election process. Main challenges include the neglection of local people's needs and the system becomes too idealistic as it fails to acknowledge changing issues in the real world. E.g. In Tehran the implementation of the plan stopped after its been prepared; and the public strongly opposed it.

    Carmen Yuen 5476956

  7. In Iran, central government passes the laws and controls local budgets. Councils do not have the mandate to enforce laws or influence monetary policies, let alone fiscal policies to help ease local social problems, and this hierarchal system of governance suppresses public participation and their ability to influence local decisions; this is evident in Tehran.

    Tehran’s council adopted a city plan, but councillors focused narrowly on masterplanning because there was no obligation to consult nor the mandate to enforce social policies and perform other supporting roles; as a consequence, Tehran is now subject to a declining economy, inflation, congestion and unaffordable housing (to name a few).

    Jessie (Jia Qin) Xie

  8. Baolin Zhang 5595904 张宝林October 14, 2014 at 4:56 AM

    In Iran, there are limited opportunities for the public to making decisions for urban planning. The country has a top-to-down system, in which the central government is given great authority in setting law, regulating budget and forming administrative organization. Generally it makes most decisions in planning and local authorities are following the state implementation plans. However, since it is hard for the central government to gain in-depth understandings of local issues, those plans are usually far away from reality and not able to address local issues. One examples is the Tehran Comprehensive Plan which was based on ideal models and lacked of adequate consideration on local conditions.

    Baolin Zhang 5595904

  9. Iran has a very centralised and rigid comprehensive planning approach. The use of comprehensive plans forces a top-down approach with little consideration of public participation. Decisions concerning local issues are made at central government level, and local authorities lack power and autonomy. This prevents local people from participating in local planning, as well as the fact that the public also has no voice in electing local authorities, which further reduces their ability to influence the planning process. If local people had more influence on plans, it is much more likely they would be better implemented by the public.

    Sarah Burgess
    ID: 53163463

  10. Iran uses comprehensive planning, a top-down system. Public participation in Iran is extremely limited, with the government having almost complete control over decision making, including laws and assembles other authorities. The people have little to no power in regards to decision making, resulting in unsustainable implementations of policies and plans. 2007 Tehran plan a great example of how the lack of public participation can result in poor results.

    Rahul Chand - 1815498

  11. Robyn Kvalsvig (2710997)October 18, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    Urban planning in Iran centralised through the government. There is a lack of public participation resulting in the people’s needs not being met. Central government controls who is elected into positions of power and enforce unrealistic plans onto cities that are not engaged with the real world and does not meet the people’s needs. It is therefore not relevant causing public opposition.

    The Tehran Comprehensive Plan is an example as it lacked public participation, focusing on master plans and not ensuring the coordination between the units. The single decision making process results in inadequate decisions being made and implemented inefficiently.

    Robyn Kvalsvig

  12. Ashley Tan (5296023)October 18, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    Iran has a forced top-down and centralised approach to its planning, as seen through how the central government passes laws and local budgets. This method of modernist and rational planning has led to a lack of participatory planning and involvement with the community. As a result, decisions are being made about local issues at a central government level and there is a lack of public influence and empowerment in these decisions.

    Councils have no obligation to consult; therefore the Tehran Plan lacked public participation leading to poor and inefficient decisions.

    Ashley Tan (5296023)

  13. Pubic participation is limited in the comprehensive planning regime of Iran. Central government’s administration apparatus has grown disproportionally too large as they take on decisions concerning local issues as well with little attention paid to the local needs of people. No voice in electing local authorities further prevents public participation in Iran.
    Challenges are created by this rigid and centralized planning system, which is evident in Tehran. The comprehensive plans made by the central government are too idealistic thus hard to implement due to the lack of engagement with the real changing world, especially at local level.

    Jenna Wu (5270747)

  14. Public participation in Iran is limited and the public do not have much say in the local authority elections and the decision making processes which affect them. In a hierarchical top down administrative system, the central government in Iran has the supreme law making powers and there is a lack of coordination between the central and local governments.

    Central government in Iran formulates comprehensive national plans without having regard towards public participation. Tehran Comprehensive Plan was met with public opposition to the plan and with a lack of co-ordination between the government units the plan led to the social, cultural and economic decline of Tehran.

    Rishi Buggaveeti
    ID: 5679286

  15. Dawn Sacayan 57779914October 20, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    Public participation in Iran is arguably non-existent. This is because of the centrality of planning and decision-making to the central government. Urban planning adopts a comprehensive planning approach which means that planning and decision-making adopts a top-down approach. Due this centrality, the role of local authorities is therefore limited to the implementation of plans, policies and objectives. Urban planning in such a high level and the lack of specificity poses significant challenges as it would impose plans, policies and/or rules which may not effectively address issue but rather worsen. More importantly, undertaking planning I the national/regional level in addition to the lack of public participation detracts prioritization of what the people needs to planning for Ihsan ‘what is beautiful’ or other idealist notions. From this, one can conclude that urban planning in Iran is detached from the people and local communities. The failures of the Tehran Comprehensive Plan for example highlighted disparities between the central and local government as well as the disconnection of planning processes.

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  18. In Iran, the administrative system is hierarchical which poses issues in the efficiency within the government. Only central government is allowed to pass laws and delegate budgets. This indicates that public participation does not exist because the Government is so centralised.

    The Tehran Comprehensive Plan demonstrates that central government did not take into account the public and their voice despite their opposition. The implementation of this plan shows the poor forms of coordination taken within the government, which has consequently led to a deterioration of Tehran.

    Sophia Lee La Selle
    ID: 2862608

  19. Public participation is extremely limited in Iran due to the supreme powers that the central government possess to create/pass laws and control local issues and elections. Due to the control Central Government have, many of the local issues/needs of the people are ignored or not given enough attention and this stems from the over reliance on comprehensive master planning that is preferred to strategic planning. This top-down approach to planning not only ignores public opinion but also leads to problems with plan implementation due to public opposition and ignored issues. The Tehran comprehensive plans of recent years brought about issues around implementation due to non-existent consultation with the public in the plan making process and a lack of understanding of the real issues which faced the people of Tehran.

  20. Iran has pursued a most extreme example of centralized governmental power and decision-making. There is little or no public participation and the local planning authorities exist only to undertake and administer the directions of central government as legal subordinates. This delays decision making. In the case of comprehensive planning in Tehran, this has resulted in a very real disconnect between the ideals of the plan and its actual ability to be implemented on the ground, which has lead to resistance and inefficiency.

    Luke Carey

  21. Public participation in Iran is poor and people have little say on the plans being created (in a top down level practice). People are often forced to move out and are not adequately compensated. The result of this is that local conditions are not appropriately considered in the formation of plan-making which has negative consequences. The Teheran Plan is an example of government officials creating inappropriate and unrealistic objectives as a result of failing to consult with people on the ground level. For effective planning solutions to be implemented, people should be part of the decision-making process and be involved from when the plan is formulated to when it is operational.

    Brendan Versluys- 5918945

  22. Decision making in Iran is largely carried out by the government with very limited opportunity for public participation. The hierarchal, top-down approach in Iran results in the Central Government having ultimate power to distribute budgets and write laws as well as restricted communication and cooperation between central and local governments.

    The problem that this process poses is that lack of public participation means the ideal outcomes as sought by the public are not always achieved. For example, Tehran Comprehensive Plan is a case where the government showed complete ignorance to public opinion and formed the plan despite heavy public opinion and resistance.

    Sam Benson - 5283855

  23. Iran has a centralised tops down approach to planning with the central government having the majority of all decision making power. This causes implementation of unrealistic plans and strategies that do not engage with public needs due to lack of delegated powers. As a result planning outcomes lack consideration for differing locational and cultural contexts due to the absence of mandated consultation measures. For examples the Tehran Comprehensive Plan lacks integration of public concerns which has led to poor and inefficient decisions. The lack of an integrated top down and bottoms up approach therefore reduces the ability of local authorities to meaningfully adapt their planning frameworks to community demands.

    Brittney Sutherland- 4993177

  24. top down policies against down up, community should be encouraged to give solutions instead of government and professional imposing.

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