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A Comparative Study of Conceptual Perspectives in the Comprehensive Plan of Tehran with Regard to Smart Urban Growth Policies and Principles

Abstract Urban planning in the 21sth century and after a long period of successful and unsuccessful experiences in both developed and developing countries in terms of improving the quality of urban living, specifically in metropolises and large cities faced many fluctuations.
Today, with developments that have occurred in planning perspectives as a result of economic and social changes on the one hand, and necessities that is based on citizens’ new needs, on the other hand, urban planning is facing new concepts. Smart city, smart urban planning, and eventually smart urban growth are among the new concepts that came from unsustainable processes of urban growth within the past decades and the death of liveliness in large cities. This issue in a metropolis like Tehran, which has experienced a scattered growth and lost many of its agricultural lands and natural valuable savings, is considerably important. In other words, Tehran needs urban smart growth planning more than any time before. Therefore, this report examines the principles of this influential approach in intellectual foundations of urban planning and after reviewing the successful global experiences in this regard, a comparative study of Tehran comprehensive plan document (as the main document of planning and guiding the city of Tehran) is conducted with regard to urban smart growth. Finally, after identification of the strengths and weaknesses of this document from urban smart growth perspective, some solutions to approach this method and its principles is presented. Findings of the study indicated that although in the prospects and guidelines of the city of Tehran, some signs of attending the smart growth principles have been observed, but it did not seem coherent. Therefore, using smart growth approach as a planning framework requires attention to all principles and dimensions. Keywords: urban smart growth, urban planning, Tehran comprehensive plan, world trade, approaches 1. Introduction 1.1. Statement of the problem One of the most vital areas in urban management and planning in today’s world is growth management and planning approaches as well as urban development. However, due to their inefficiency, cities have faced numerous problems and challenges. Among such problems are demolishment of vital habitats around the cities, extreme dependence on personal vehicle, considerable separation of residential and working areas from each other and hence long, costly and heavy traffic journeys with social and economic consequences, and finally increasing the costs of city management and its unsustainability. In recent years, one of the reactions to the existing condition is the smart growth approach. Smart growth is one of the modern approaches in management and planning of urban development, which has been proposed in USA in reaction to suburb development model and presented principle for condensed development, redevelopment of inner city regions, and reducing the development of overgrown cities. These principles include focus on equal growth in the city center to avoid irrational expansion and unsound congestion with a tendency toward proper movement and designation of roads for walking and biking and holistic development with adequate right of choosing the residential place for citizens. Smart growth goals include obtaining a unique social feeling and sense of place in individuals, transportation development, employment and choosing the residential area, imbalance distribution of costs and development interests, maintenance and improvement of natural and cultural resources and promotion of social welfare. American Planning Association defines smart growth as “Planning, design, development and renovation of societies to promote and increase sense of place, maintenance of natural and cultural resources and fair distribution of expenses and development advantages.” This theory has three fundamental domains that stand in relation to each other: 1. Limiting the horizontal expansion 2. Mixed usages 3. Implementing different transportation methods 2.1. Objectives of the study Main objective: • Comparative study of the comprehensive plan of Tehran with regard to smart urban growth policies and principles Other objectives: • Identification of principles and components of smart urban growth • Analyzing the experiences of major cities in the world considering the implementation of smart urban growth • Identification of strengths and weaknesses of Tehran comprehensive plan’s perspectives from the principles and components of smart urban growth • Suggesting solutions to make the dominating principles of preparing the comprehensive plan of Tehran compatible with principles and components of smart urban growth 1.3. Research questions Main question: • To what extent are the prospects and guidelines of the comprehensive plan of Tehran in accordance with principles and policies of smart urban growth? Other questions: • What are the principles and components of smart urban growth? • What effective lessons can be gained for the city of Tehran by analysis of experiences of large cities in the world in terms of implementing smart urban growth? • What are the strengths and weaknesses of Tehran comprehensive plan perspectives from the viewpoint of these global principles and experiences? • What approaches can be used to make the dominating principles of preparing the comprehensive plan of Tehran compatible with principles and components of smart urban growth?
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