bikes on tehran’s streets

19 02 2010

Tehran’s municipality has established a bicycle venue “in one district of the city as part of an experimental program to help ease traffic congestion, improve air quality and cater to the desires of increasingly health- and fitness-oriented Iranians.” I have always admired similar programs in European cities (e.g., Paris, Barcelona, etc.), but never thought Tehran’s landscape and culture was bike friendly. I was wrong:

tehran vs. tokyo

17 10 2008

[By Shideh]   Tehran mayor, Mr. Qalibaf, has been trying to learn from and collaborate with other big cities in the world to improve Tehran in many ways.  I find his attempts promising and in the right direction:


Tehran can learn a great deal from Tokyo in terms of pollution reduction and earthquake safety.  Perhaps Japan is one of the few remaining nations that has not paid much attention to the US attempts to impose international sanctions on Iran – up to debate.  This is a great start for Qalibaf to attract Japanese investment and collaborate with the mayor of Tokyo to improve Tehran’s infrastructure.  However, an important part of the problem in Tehran and Iran in general is not related to technical expertise and lack of knowledge.  The main problem seems to be deeply rooted in social awareness and culture.  It takes a great number of local experts on the social psychology of Tehranians to solve the essential problems that are unique to Tehran and do not apply to Tokyo.  Japan in particular has a culture vastly different from those of Iranians and I hope that their solutions and policies will not be blindly applied to Tehran. Iran has a history of blindly following policies of developed nations to improve its system (i.e. education, infrastructure, architecture, city planning, etc.) and my impression is that these attempts have lead to disastrous results and confusion on our own social/cultural identity.

tehran metro

11 04 2008

[By Shideh]   During my last years in Iran, 1998-1999, Tehran Metro seemed like a dream that would never come to reality.  We knew that the plan for its construction had begun a long time before the revolution but was stopped during the war and that the construction had finally started after all those years but there was no hope as it seemed to take a long time.  Tehran’s traffic continued to worsen, the pollution lead to numerous social/economical/health problems, and the need for metro was at its peak.  On march 7th, 1999, Tehran-Karaj express electric train finally started a limited service of 31.4 km between Azadi square in Tehran and Malard in Karaj with one intermediate stop.  The construction works of stations, tunnels, and bridges on a few subway lines were eventually finished and a great number of Tehranies use the Metro every day now to get to their destinations.  


Iran khodro with an annual production of over 1,000,000 vehicles continues to contribute to the congestion of cars in Tehran and other cities, while there is an ongoing parallel attempt to increase public transportation and metro lines in Tehran and complete construction of metro stations/tunnels in other major cities (i.e. Shiraz, Tabriz, Mashhad, etc.).  The limits imposed on the amount of gas available for each driver last year seemed to be successful in reducing traffic for a short time, but people have found a way around the limitations and selling gas on black market has become a common scene in Tehran.



Photo and map courtesy of TehranMetro

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iran’s international conference on integrated natural disaster management – this february

13 01 2008

Today, we received a message from one of the chairs of the 3rd International Conference on Integrated Natural Disaster Management scheduled in Iran for this February (2008).  The main themes for the conference are: earthquakes, floods, droughts, landslides, and hurricanes.  UNICEF, the City of Tehran, IAEM, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Shahid Beheshti University, York University, and Cranfield University are some of the sponsors of this conference. 

The deadline for submitting abstracts and papers is passed but you can still register and attend the conference.  If you have a paper that you’d like to submit, I personally suggest you send it even though the deadline’s past.  For more information:  The image below is from their flash intro:


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viva tehran

18 10 2007

[By Shideh]  We are back in Berkeley and are in the process of organizing our photos/videos from Iran.  We’ll post short summaries with observations from our trip over the next few weeks (as it’s going to be long… and there were plenty of interesting topics for discussion that came up).  First, today, a few short thoughts and impressions from Tehran:

daaneshkadeh fani tasvieh khoon tehran metro station at iiees

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notes from day 2 of the sustainability and public transportation conference

2 08 2007

[By Shawhin]  The second day of the conference was even more interesting than the first for me.  There was a large focus on city planning, land use, and policy.  I’m continuing the same format as the previous post here and getting straight into details by presentation.  And again, if you want more details on anything, just let me know and I can elaborate. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »