[By Shawhin] I just finished reading the transcript from an interview between the Financial Times and current Tehran Mayor, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, published on January 8th, 2008. There’s a lot of information in the transcript particularly regarding development, urban planning, transportation, etc. Dr. Qalibaf has been mayor since September 2005 according to Wikipedia.
I’ve summarized a few points from the article here – these are from quotes from the Mayor:
+ Development in Tehran is handled on three levels:
o Small projects are handled at the local/neighborhood level: via assisting councils (“shora yaari”, شورا یاری) – see details below,
o Medium size projects are handled by the Municipality’s representative offices in 22 zones, and
o Large projects (i.e. highways, Milad Tower, etc) are done at the national level
+ When Qalibaf entered office, the Municipality’s budget was 992bn tomans ($1.05bn). This year’s budget is 3,200bn toman, and next year’s budget is expected to be 5,000bn toman. Part of the increase in budget is attributed to encouraging people to pay their taxes – this is partly credited to increased local development via the assistant councils.
+ [The budget seems to come from the following sources:
o Less that 5% from Renovation Taxes (paid annually by housing, commercial and administrative units or the city’s development),
o About 60% from Construction Taxes
o Some from Foreign investment (i.e. World Bank and renovation of historic Tehran; construction of hotels, recreational centers, recycling programs)
o 50% of public transportation and national level projects from the government
+ Development activities carried out by the Tehran municipality in the past two years have exceeded work in the preceding seven years.
+ Last year was the first time the Municipality provided a complete report of municipality income and expenses to the city council and the people
+ The birth-rate in Tehran is less than 0.5%; immigration is 1.5% in Tehran and 3.5% in satellite towns.
+ Tehran now actively monitors 40 cities around the world for urban management best practices
Some things I specifically liked:
+ Qalibaf has set up assisting councils (“shora yaari”, شورا یاری ) toward achieving social development and people’s participation. Tehran has been divided into 380 neighborhoods where residents have elected neighborhood representatives in order to assist with development work – thus allowing “people to take part [in the city’s development] from their doorstep.”
+ For the first time in 40 years, Tehran City Council and the Supreme Urban Development Council have approved a new comprehensive development plan on November 26th, 2007:
o The plan defines building height limits,
o There are restrictions on building architecture – i.e. courtyard-centric houses in Old Tehran
o Tehran becomes smaller in plan from the current 670 square km to 640 square km, whereas capacities will be promoted – with a goal of providing services for 11m people by 1405. Currently between 7 to 7.5m people live and work in Tehran, about 2.5m work in Tehran but don’t live there. As such, during the day, the population is currently estimated at 10.5m, with services available on average to 7.5 to 8m during the day.