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Urban Regeneration Agenda: From Policy to Plan

publish date: Wednesday 07 March 2018 |   view: 415 |  print
Social Responsibility
Recently, Ministry of Roads and Urban Development has launched the national agenda of 'Urban Regeneration'. The scheme is described as the largest urban development plan in Iran's history with regeneration of 1334 neighborhoods across country.


According to the surveys from current status of inefficient settlements, 2700 neighborhoods, in 543 cities within 141000 hectares of urban area are identified. The regeneration of these neighborhoods will upgrade livability of 6 million households.

Currently, Iranian cities are faced with two main challenges of livability and mobility in cities and the efforts for rehabilitation of informal settlements and regeneration of old urban areas since 2000 has proved to be unsuccessful. Now, as a top priority, the Ministry's fundamental agenda through urban regeneration policy is empowerment of cities as a social structure rather than a physical structure collectively and individually. Collectively, it aims to restore IranShahr identity and individually it aims to empower the residents of the target neighborhoods economically, socially and physically (in terms of quality of life of settlements) focusing on neighborhoods in each districts.

Overall since 2013, in the housing and urban development sector, there is a major shift from a project-oriented Government to a planning-oriented Government which mainly sees its mission in setting grounds for citizens and private sector to play their roles effectively and efficiently.

The scheme is planned in two 5-year. The first will include 1334 neighborhoods. The basis of plan is to revive the main unique elements of the neighborhoods which vary based on particular characteristics of each urban area.

Current Status of Inefficient Urban Areas

Currently, the inefficient urban areas are divided into three categories of 'central inefficient areas', 'historical areas', and 'informal settlements'. Central inefficient areas comprise 55,104 hectares in 465 cities and 1000 neighborhoods; historical areas comprise 24,141 hectares in 175 cities in 600 neighborhoods; and informal settlements comprise 61,657 hectares in 110 cities and 1,100 neighborhoods from total urban areas of the country.

Overall, inefficient urban areas exist in 543 cities (in 2700 neighborhoods), comprising 141,000 hectares (18%) of urban areas, and encompassing 19 million people (30% of urban population).

Inefficient urban areas have had negative consequences that translate into decreasing livability in cities. Specifically, they face negative consequences including urban poverty, social harms, crisis of safety and resilience against natural disasters, lowering spatial dignity and identity, inefficient mobility systems, and environmental crisis.

Upper Supporting Rules of Urban Regeneration Plan

The following rules are considered as supporting rules for implementation of Regeneration Plan in Iran:
1. Iran's 20-Year Vision Plan (1404),
2. The law for supporting rehabilitation and regeneration of old and inefficient urban areas approved by Parliament on 19 January 2011,
3. The law for organizing and supporting production and supply of housing approved by Parliament on 22 May 2008,
4. The Articles of 59, 61, and 62 of 6th Development Plan,
5. Requirements and objectives of Resilient Economy Plan based on 6th Development Plan
6. The national strategic document for rehabilitation and regeneration of inefficient urban areas approved on 29 September 2014 and amended in 28 August 2017

Goals of 'Urban Regeneration Plan'


Goals of 'Urban Regeneration Plan' are all encompassed in improving livability of citizens, but it further seeks to improve local governance, spatial dignity and identity, urban resilience, and to decrease urban poverty.

It includes an integrated and comprehensive policy and approach for leading the trend of city growth and development for responding to challenges arising from the changes and needs of the new generation in order to prevent and solve urban problems toward sustainable physical, economic, social, and environmental development.

Main Hard Pillars of Urban Regeneration Plan

The main pillars of the plan are: 1) to develop and equip the suprastructural services including construction of cultural centers, sport halls, clinics, public libraries, Firefighting, etc. 2) Rehabilitation, renovation and retrofit housing to provide decent, adequate, and affordable housing for low-incomes through granting facilities, incentives and support packages 3) rehabilitation, and improving infrastructural services of public spaces including water supply and sewage lines, electricity, gas and telecommunications networks a well as equipping urban spaces like city squares, beaches, lakes, wetlands and railway terminals.

The process requires trending, capacity building, networking, instrumentation, institutionalizing, and internalization to achieve the goals to upgrade economic, social, and institutional capabilities.

Soft (Non-Physical) Pillars of Urban Regeneration Plan

 Social, economic, and institutional Empowerment
o Empowering people, groups and societies is a process in which the power and abilities of community members increase in a way to control and lead their lives. In this process, people will acquire needed capacity for active participation to achieve economic, social and cultural goals in their communities.
 Institutionalization
o It is intended to launch social institutions and NGOs in target localities to develop local communities, attracting citizens participation, increase the share and role of the members of local communities in shaping the cities
 Capacity-building
o To create training opportunities for raising awareness, knowledge, and skills to improve quality of life of citizen comprehensively
 Instrumentation
o To provide needed financial and legal instruments to advance and facilitate urban regeneration trend through indentifying the burdens and proposing particular solutions including defining and amending bylaws, required laws and guidelines, presenting support packages, exemptions and facilities.

Dissemination (Non-Physical) Plans

 Internalization
The main objective is to make the plans and initiatives sustainable comprehensively through:
o Documentation and making database
o Comprehensive evaluation and monitoring of initiatives and plans
o Updating and managing the knowledge
o Reforming the processes and structures of management and planning
 Networking
o The main objective is to encourage cooperation and synergy among actors and to avoid parallel activities through:
 Forming collaborative networks and groups
 Providing the institutional and legal mechanism for horizontal and vertical cooperation
 Drawing on a diverse range of participation tools among all actors
 Trending
The main objective is to develop a public and comprehensive trend and discourse among citizens through:
o Dissemination and information sharing at different levels of actors
o Managing and supporting cultural plans, technical summits and conferences
o Holding training courses/workshops
o Producing documentation and applicable resources

The Quantitative Goals of Urban Regeneration Plan

The 1334 neighborhoods which comprise 50% of total target neighborhoods will be fulfilled by the end of 6th Development Plan. It expands in 66,000 hectares (48% of area in target neighborhoods), encompassing 9 million citizens (45% of dwellers of target neighborhoods).


Share of Organizations in Funding Different Pillars of Regeneration Plan

Four main actors play roles in funding the resources of Regeneration Plan; Banks (10%), Private Sector (29%), Municipalities (30%), Government (31%).

Their shares differ according to different levels of plan:


The total needed budget is estimated as $32,954,442,840 for 2017-2021. Of this share, the Government share is $ 10,181,047,381, the private sector share is $ 12,860,248,466 and municipalities share is almost $10 b.

Instruments providing financial resources ($6,677,373,967)


 Government is expected to provide 31% of the fund (about $2,136,758,162) from:
1. The municipality budget of the current year is $3,472,237,523. Because 30% of urban population is located in inefficient urban areas 30% of this fund will be allocated to inefficient areas (estimating to $1,068,379,081).
2. National Development Fund will allocate $667,736,247 as fund for housing facilities
3. $400,640,622 from increasing the price of energy carriers will be granted to the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development to develop suprastructural and infrastructural services.
 Banks and Private Sector will provide 39% of the fund estimating to $2,670,938,018
1. $667,734,504 fund on the part of Banks (18%) to build 100,000 houses by $ 13,354 loan to developers
2. $1,335,469,534 fund by investors
3. $667,734,767 investment in developing suprastructural services by providing business environment
 Municipalities will provided 30% of the fund estimating to $1,869,657,502 Approved annual budget of Municipalities in 543 target cities in 2017 is $14,690,166,091 from which 13% will be allocated to Regeneration Plan. Moreover, according to the law, $4,006,408,933 from VAT will be paid to the Municipalities by Government.

By Samaneh Afshar
** 1USD=37,439 IRR calculated on 7 March 2018
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