welcome!

Thanks for visiting the site! We put tehranshake together several years ago and really enjoyed the great discussions and networks that came out of it. In 2011, we moved on to a different stage in our careers (we’re teaching and doing research now in civil engineering and environmental design). We haven’t been working on the site since then. We’ve left the site up just because we still make new friends through it. Feel free to browse, but please note that most of the information is outdated!

Here’s the original content:

Dear new friend, khoush aamadi,

This blog is intended as a multidisciplinary communication among individuals and professionals of ideas that address Tehran’s infrastructure related problems in a broad sense, such as earthquake hazard reduction, transit infrastructure solutions, pollution reduction, social-economical obstacles, etc. It is our hope that these ideas can be translated into action using community based synergy and spreading awareness. It is this blog’s intent to bring together diverse views free of geographic and political boundaries, which all too often hinder these important dialogues.

If you have thoughts on the content of this blog, ideas for expanding or focusing, or wish to begin new discussion, please feel free to comment on this page.  We will be looking forward to your ideas!

We are honored that you have visited our blog.  Enjoy your time here and stay in touch

22 responses

14 06 2007
Rezwan

Great website!
As you know I’m in Shiraz working on the OstAneh fArs regional plan. One thing that has caught my attention that I think will be good here is Form Based planning. Look at http://www.dpz.com – they have a template available for “SmartCode” – form-based zoning code – that can be easily modified for many regions. Iran doesn’t have the same urban sprawl situation that the states has, it’s more of a development anarchy/regulatory bypass problem, but I think the process of developing a vision for urban fabric and communicating it to the public along with a system of regulation solves a lot of the problems here.
What do you think?

14 06 2007
Shawhin

Rezwan – thanks so much for the comment. I’m posting a response to the home page.

18 06 2007
a.s. adler

B”H

I am doing a study comparing an open market for surface transit with the exisitng monopoly/franchise systems that prevail in most cities that once had street-cars.

The conclusion appears to be that an open market — regulated on the basis of safety, honesty and environmental concerns — would lead to the development of a ubiquitous system of largely owner driven, low floor, electric/hybrid vans — ultimately supplying about an order of magnitude more service than the exisitng buses and reducing congestion. pollution and energy consumption.

The key is that the vans have a very low cost structure and require very little higher level organization. As a result, they are able to operate more frequently than the buses and make fewer stops per mile — so they are faster also. This attracts people out of cars and taxis — increasing demand for vans, etc.

I have done a detailed study for NYC and would like to see how this would work in Tehran — which has a very different cost structure. I would be glad to send you my still unfinished study — now about 40,000 words.

If I am right, the global benefits of this policy would be enormous — on the order of $500 billion per year. In NYC, it is over ten billion dollars per year — mostly savings in walking, waiting and riding time of exisitng bus passengers, consumer surpluses of those who divert to vans and reduced congestion costs.

A. S. Adler. NYC and Jerusalem

PS. I found your interesting site while searching for good statistics on Tehran buses. I am not at a computer just now that allows email.

19 06 2007
shawhin

That’s very interesting.

Thanks for the comment. I am interested to learn more, so yes, if you do have more information I would be eager to read it.

In Pretoria, South Africa, they used a similar system of 10 person vans and that was the only way I got around there. The network was not as extensive as it could have been, but the city was not densely populated.

Another example I’ve come across were the “dolmus” 10 person vans in Istanbul, Turkey. There however, use of the “dolmus” vans were combined with taxis, larger busses, metro, etc. I’m curious to know what’s limiting the growth of van usage there – because yes, it seems like an efficient solution. No big drawbacks come to mind now – perhaps a more expensive vehicle to operate… but that seems marginal.

I know in Tehran for example a lot of people use their own cars as taxis before, after, and sometimes during their primary occupation. I don’t know what percentage of the taxi rides in Tehran are in these private cars [I’ll do some research and see if I can find/post the info]. I assume those folks would not switch over to vans. But for the other portion of taxis (the majority? by far?), no immediate drawbacks come to mind.

29 06 2007
Nooshin Omolkeadarya Razani

Incredible website, congratulations to the hosts for being great.

In response to Rezwan’s invitation to describe our ideal communities, here is my 50 cents. I am not a specialist, just a mom and doctor so forgive me if this is what you learn in freshman urban planning:

My ideal community:
#1 Clean air, water, access to fresh, healthy food and gardens.
#2 Private versus public needs could be balanced. Homes built for families (nuclear or multigenerational) could have walls surrounding their private gardens, but still inviting community interaction by having a part of the garden always open to guests. My grandmother described this set-up for her father’s home in Dashtestan. The outerpart was always open to guests but the inside part allowed women and children to let loose.
The outerpart of each home could connect into a central community space with no cars so that children could run free, people could take nice walks. This community space could include grass, a playground, cafe, computer lab for community use. There should also be a nearby comunity center with athletic possibilities for kids (pool, tennis courts, soccer field, pool table, wushu room, tai chi classes in the mornings) to encouraging healthy, active living. There should be events encouraging the intermingling of generations while discouraging unhealthy things (ie drug use). Schools should be within walking distance. Public health would be a responsibility of the community members so they were invested in the outcome.

I do not mean a gated community, because I don’t think it is realistic to raise children by physically blocking out “undesirable” things in the world. But it seems that by removing cars and building homes that open into a central community space, you will encourage interaction.

Finally, nearby public transportation so you could easily go downtown, to the movies, or to visit friends/family without a car.
Noosh

2 07 2007
Hooman Hosseinpour

I am so impressed with this blog and its topic of discussion which exactly matches with my long time concerns. I heartily admire Shideh and Shawhin and fully support their pure intentions. I also hope other individuals and professionals join this blog and share their ideas and solutions. Although our infrastructure problems are a lot, we shouldn’t give up and be disappointed easily, otherwise this situation will continue for ever if any imaginable future would be imaginable, especially for a city like Tehran. We know that the hardest part of this work is implementational part or putting the ideas into action, especially in our country. Maybe this is one of the reasons that we haven’t had much improvement in this regard. I think this is a good idea that individuals discussing about any issues also try to propose some solutions regarding how their ideas can be turned into practice. Providing practical solutions considering current executional obstacles and effective leverage points in addition to new and creative ideas will lead us to reach our goals. We should (have to) do whatever we can do using the smartest solutions. Even saving a life more is worth enough to do our best, isn’t it?

Hopefully, my next post will discuss about one of the most common obstacles and problems after strong natural disasters, Communication Problem, which indirectly yields to have more human casualties in a region in addition to other potential problems it can cause, and propose one of the most practical solutions.

At the end, I want to focus your attention on one of the Einstein quotes:

“We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Again my special thanks to authors of this blog, Shideh and Shawhin.
Hooman.

3 07 2007
Shideh

Dear Hooman,

Thank you for your kind words and for the great input. I’ve posted a response to your comment on the home page.

5 07 2007
koohestan11

Nice blog initiative – I’m curious to see what topics will be discussed in the future! I’d like to see analyses on the internet infrastructure within Iran. the internet infrastructure is so poor for 2 reasons: incredibly slow speed and of course, filtering. The internet is one of the greatest educational tools, and education is a solution to many of the problems in Tehran (and around the world). Fixing/upgrading the internet infrastructure, as I see it, is as a realistic,and potentially possible immediate-term solution that can (or will) have some immediate impacts I bet across all aspects of daily life. anyway….

12 07 2007
Shideh

Very interesting comment! I never thought of the internet infrastructure as a relevant topic. The more I think about it though, the more I realize how important it is to have access to high speed internet in educating the public, especially the youth, in different topics (for our case to raise public awareness on Tehran’s infrastructure related problems or to propose solutions to the authorities or people). I’ll do some research on this, but please feel free to share your thoughts.
What are the reasons against having high speed internet in Iran? what is on the way for fixing/upgrading the internet infrastructure?

12 07 2007
Hooman Hosseinpour

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:

[Please see Hooman’s full comment and related discussion on the home page, here. Thanks, Shawhin]

12 08 2007
mohammad h. dashti

my dearest shideh and shawhin,
i love yous two.
this is by far the greatest site of its kind i ever did see.
keep the sence of humour in it. that’s your cutting edge.
engineering sattire is the best way to get the attention of policy makers.
love you like a rock,
bugzi mallon,
tehran 12 aug.2007.

21 11 2007
nahid

this site is very informative for the persons who is faced with tehran in the first time as the subject for urban problem and find salution by thinking in many dimention .
good luck. and all best wishes
nahid- leuven – belgium

21 11 2007
Shawhin

Nahid – thanks so much for the kind words. Tehranshake is still in its infancy in a way – and we hope with more discussion and more interesting topics, it could become even more usefull. So by all means – if you have any ideas, we’d be honored to hear your thoughts!
Are you from Iran yourself? I see you are in Belgium now.
Shawhin

7 09 2008
Pardis

Dear Shideh,
I accidentally came across your web page. I am a Shiraz University alumni (EE) and I was looking for pictures from my former school when I came across your blog. I currently live in US and am so interested in your blog and your passion of our home country. I read several posts from your page.
I added your blog to my favorites and will check your site frequently.
Thanks and best wishes to you.
Pardis

7 09 2008
Shideh

Dear Pardis,
thank you so much for your lovely note. Please keep in touch and let me know whenever there is a topic that you would like to discuss on the blog; I look forward to hearing more about you and your thoughts.
welcome!
Shideh

26 11 2008
AMIR NIKBAF

نقشه تهران

30 07 2010
Thomas Schmidt

Salam,
I am a german documentary filmmaker. I also study farsi on my own ( I speak russian, german, french and english) , amma hamaknun harf mizanam kheyli kam… I visited a friend of mine, a filmmaker last September in Tehran, his name is Majid , and I was really concerned by the wild construction going on , in respect to the earthquake danger. Independently of your site I started to work on a concept for a 42 min documentary about the dangers of an imminent quake. A second series, if the first will be done, will be about low cost approaches for alternative communication, water supply, and just some low tech, low cost improvements that could be proposed to the inhabitants of Tehran.

I fear all those plans for resettlement will take quite a while. And Teherans adore their city.
So of course as I am in preproduction preparation I shall be happy to stay in touch, of course we need experts, officials etc. to take part in the shooting. We plan to shoot from October 15 th through end of November.
Congratulations to a great an necessary website from
Thomas Schmidt
fan of TED.com

31 07 2010
Shideh

Dear Thomas,
thank you so much for your note and for your great work. Let’s definitely stay in touch and let me know if I can do anything to help.
Best of luck to you,
Shideh

1 08 2010
Thomas Schmidt

Dear Shideh,
I have written an english version of my projct. We need a number of contacts and experts in the Tehran area, may be you are willing to give me some advice? I could send the draft to your email.
khoda hafez
thomas

12 10 2011
Nazanin

Dear Shawhin,
I am student at TU Delft university, and I am going my graduation now. For my Thesis I want to work on Tehran region. Here is really important to work based on goverment plans. The problem is here, in Netherlands, I do not have any access to their plan for Tehran Metropolitan Region. Do have any information about these plans? Do you where can I find them? I will be very thankful if you could help me about it.

Best
Nazanin

18 01 2012
Marcia

Hello Everyone

Very impressive blog, I would like to thank the hosts for creating these opportunities for dialogue.

I am a student at IaaC in Barcelona, Spain.A unique program has been put together this year to work on and find solutions for urban problems in Tehran. I have a few weeks left before I must ultimately decide my research topic/proposal and I am looking for issues that are less obvious and more manageable, more specifically on a social/behavioral scale. Issues like traffic, transportation, pollution, etc. will be addressed I am sure by many other members of the program and I think they are overly general and the scale is too broad.

I have been thinking about rapid urbanization/ urban sprawl or even concentration of social or behavioral patterns in certain districts/neighborhoods. I am interested in the relationship of swarm intelligence and space syntax with these urban issues.

Regardless of this, I am open to any and all suggestions of Tehran-related issues. I would appreciate any ideas of issues anyone might find relevant in Tehran as well as specific geographical areas which anyone might find particularly promising for extensive work. My research and project development will take a complete year, and I want to be certain it is a very relevant and essential aspect of Tehran urban life.

I thank everyone in advance

m.

18 01 2012
Shawhin

dear marcia,

thanks for your post! the blog’s been inactive for a few years – ever since we got caught up back in school: my wife started teaching and i returned to grad school.

your topic is really exciting to us – needless to say! and it’s always great to see people study tehran.

a few random thoughts:

first, i think you’re right about overly-broad issues drawing a lot of attention and effort. and i think your areas interest are pretty cool. i don’t know a whole lot about swarm intelligence, etc, but one small thing i’ve started doing may be useful for you: i’ve subscribed to alerts and abstracts from library and thesis services like proquest, avis, and other databases for new research on tehran and urban issues. there’s a lot of research students are doing inside and outside iran. it helps get a sense for where trends in scholarship are. there have been a handful of recent theses coming out of tehran on artificial intelligence methods of analyzing urban growth issues… this may or may not be relevant to you.

second, there are a couple of students in the us that i’m aware of who study social network technologies and urban space utilization… may also be an indirect but interesting link.

third, a couple scholars in iran are getting into cultural urban geography theory stuff. there’s at least one prof at shahid beheshti in geography who’s doing this. i’m sure there are many others i have yet to learn about. there is likely a lot of urban geography/sociology type research that would be beneficial for / unexplored in tehran.

it’s a random, short, and not-to-helpful response. i have to run off, but just wanted to share some thoughts!

best of luck

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