[By Shawhin] Continuing on the discussion in “pollution in Tehran…”, here are my two cents on the second bullet: managing/reducing population concentration.
I’m personally a big advocate of reducing the population in Tehran to a sustainable level. As it stands, Tehran is Iran’s economic, commercial, and political capital. With over 12million inhabitants (about 1/6th of Iran’s 70million population), Tehran is the heart of Iran’s governance.
It is more strategic to have separate financial, political, historical, and cultural capitols for many reasons ranging through political, commercial, defense, earthquake safety, planning, and congestion management. For these reasons I advocate relocating one or more of the country’s capitals. A resulting population reduction would not only be beneficial for air quality but also fundamental for earthquake safety, water quality, etc, etc.
As an aside, separating a country’s hubs requires more infrastructure to support and enable increased transportation between separate cities and locations of interest. The dynamics of the costs and benefits would be something to look into: Is it worth shifting population centers around the country at the expense of an extended transportation network, water and power grids, and other lifeline facilities? Perhaps there’s an optimal balance between one mega-city where the whole country is run vs. multiple medium size cities – a middle ground with a semi-mega-city and some other hubs.
Here are some articles I’ve come across:
For people who live in Iran, there’s a workshop starting in a week:
Also somewhat related: