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:


heading to zagros

21 04 2008

We are heading to Iran this weekend to attend a very exciting and special conference on Zagros Tranditional Settlements in Sanandaj, Kurdistan, organized by the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture, and Urbanism. We will write much more about the lectures and sites; but please let us know if there is anything specific that you want us to pay attention to, take pictures of, or ask the experts attending and/or presenting at the conference.



Photo courtesy of International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture, and Urbanism


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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town carved from rock

21 12 2007

A town famous for its beautiful architecture and energy efficiency.  Interesting video on National Geographic about Kandovan:


picture borrowed from:

citizen and community involvement / empowerment in planning?

29 10 2007

[By Shawhin]  One theme that came up a couple times in our Iran visit was the apparent lack of citizen and/or community involvement in city planning and policy matters.  With plenty of development, debatable growth trends, “good” and “bad” projects (be it building, infrastructure, landscape, or …), and in general a very educated and aware community, it seems odd that there isn’t a ton of (and possibly little to no) community involvement in places like Tehran or Shiraz. 

Does: development + growth + public opinion + dissatisfaction with some trends = community involvement?  Read the rest of this entry »

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 »