notes from day 1 of the sustainability and public tranportation conference

30 07 2007

[By Shawhin]

We concluded our first day of the conference a couple hours ago with many interesting issues discussed, ranging from policy to project specific practices to setting international trends in sustainability.  I took about 20 pages of notes!, which I’ve condensed here.  Provided below are first a concise general-picture summary of the discussions followed by a more detailed account by speaker/session:

 General overview:

  • Attendees and speakers included elected officials (congress, mayors, regional agency board members), heads of transit and planning agencies, representatives from private firms, and other planners, lawyers, architects, engineers, and politicians.  A good mix. Read the rest of this entry »

sustainability and public transportation

26 07 2007

[By Shawhin]

I’m heading to an interesting conference/workshop in a couple days in Seattle: it’s titled “sustainability and public transportation,” hosted by the American Public Transportation Association.  I’m sure we’ll be reviewing some models that would be applicable to Tehran: bus rapid transportation, light rail, and sustainable development.  Other topics such as transit oriented development (TOD) are probably less relevant, but should be interesting nevertheless.

I’ll post what we do at the workshop each day on tehranshake, so stay tuned.

More info about the conference can be found at:

If there’s anything in particular anyone would like to be discussed or asked about at the workshop, I would be happy to be of service – just let me know.

earthquake safety and media

23 07 2007

[By Shideh]  Interesting information on BBCPersian:

“در صورتی که زلزله تهران به خاطر فعال شدن گسل ری باشد، ۴۸۰ هزار ساختمان در تهران فرو خواهد ریخت، یعنی ۵۵ درصد ساختمان‏های شهر. بیشترین تعداد ساختمان‏های آسیب دیده در منطقه ۱۵ خواهد بود.” 

“In the case of an earthquake on the Ray Fault, 480,000 buildings will collapse in Tehran: 55% of all the buildings in Tehran.” 

In particular, I am glad that discussions af Tehran’s susceptibility to seismic hazard have increasingly become more of a concern to the public and to the media.  As misleading as most popular news sources can be in terms of the accuracy of their scientific claims, they can have a strong influence on public awareness and education. Also, this can be especially useful when finding ways to have our ideas heard by policy makers in Iran.  Media can not only have a great role in educating the public (or misleading them in many matters), it can be used to put policy makers under pressure for effective action. I think continuous articles and interviews on popular columns of famous news papers and magazines can have a profound impact, which we can have in mind as a possible way for implementing infrastructure related solutions later on.  This may seem obvious, but we can start planning for it at some point.

… hooman’s thoughts on emergency management and amateur radio

12 07 2007

[Comment by Hooman Hooseinpour] Thanks so much for your response.

In fact, there are many issues which can be related to this topic, Communications Problems. This is one of the great obstacles that even developed countries face during large scale emergency events. Here, I don’t aim to discuss about issues related to emergency management and decision-making, in that there is so much I need to learn. What I am going to say is about a more reliable communication system, Amateur Radio. Let’s have a brief overview:

Read the rest of this entry »

maps of tehran’s development

5 07 2007

The link below has some good graphics to go with the history of the development of Tehran in the previous post:

Read the rest of this entry »

a summary of the history of urban planning and development in tehran

5 07 2007

[By Shawhin]

In order to better understand development and planning in Tehran, I found it helpful to get a sense of the where Tehran started and how it got to where it is today.  Most of the information in this post is summarized from a paper by A. Madanipour, who is a professor in the department of architecture at NewCastle University.  His paper is titled “Urban Planning and Development in Tehran”.

 This summary list highlights important events in Tehran’s planning/development, chronologically from the past to the present.  All dates are given in CE = AD = ‘milady’:

  • Tehran starts as a village outside the ancient city of Ray
  • 1553  Construction of the city walls (square shaped) and a bazaar in Tehran – the first major planning effort in Tehran
  • 1785 Tehran is selected as the Qajar capital – the city grows from 15,000 inhabitants at the end of the 18th century to about 150,000 by the 1860’s Read the rest of this entry »

… response to hooman’s comment

3 07 2007

[By Shideh]  (See Hooman’s comment on the welcome page.) I agree with you that we should eventually start thinking of ways to implement solutions that we discuss. I think we should have a separate section where we can discus ideas only on implementing infrastructure related solutions alone.  The challenge is how to make our ideas heard by the people who make policies and those who make sure the law is in effect. I will write more about this soon, as I still need to learn much. This may also be a great topic for discussion. 

It is true that in finding and implementing our solutions, we should abandon the kind of thinking that has lead us to the current state of our country (at least for its infrastructure). One of the great problems that we face, I think, is lack of hope for our future and lack of confidence in our own capabilities. Read the rest of this entry »