Study of Impacts and consequences of relocating of public organizations to deteriorated areas of Tehran as urban catalyst projects
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Case Study Information
Title: Study of Impacts and consequences of relocating of public organizations to deteriorated areas of Tehran as urban catalyst projects
Teaser: The present study was focused on identifying, assessing and managing the impacts of relocating a public organization to a deteriorated areas as an urban catalyst project, as well as finding solutions to increase positive impacts and reduce negative ones.
Summary: This study was mainly aimed to investigate the effects and impacts of relocating public organizations to deteriorated areas of Tehran as urban catalyst projects. Thus the methodology was designed based on social impact assessment. Using documentary and field research, needed data was collected, and afterward, using different techniques such as scenario writing and comparative analysis, the changes in different variables were predicted. In addition to literature review, some similar urban plans were also examined. Related officials and local activists and elites which were selected by targeted sampling method, were also interviewed. Based on all the data, the impacts on various aspects including social (population density, social conflicts, gentrification, quality of life, etc.), physical (infrastructures, traffic, deterioration, urban landscape, etc.), economic (property prices, job creation, local businesses, investment, etc.) and environmental subjects were explained. In the end for managing the impacts, different solutions are provided to increase the positive effects and to reduce negative ones.
Project area: 184 neighborhoods across the whole city
Population size: Not available
Main actors: Tehran Municipality – Tehran urban research and planning center, Urban renewal organization of Tehran
Project start: (2020/February)
Project end: (2021/March)
Background and objectives: Deterioration of an urban area and lack of adequate urban infrastructure and services cause lots of problems which lead to degradation of social and economic qualities and finally to urban decay. Some of these problems are namely abandoned buildings, depopulation, transport infrastructure issues, desolate cityscape, etc.
One of the new strategies for urban development or redevelopment, particularly for urban regeneration of undesirable areas, is the use of catalysts focused on accelerating and facilitating the process of transformation in these areas through social participation and engagement. Construction and non-construction projects can be considered as catalysts if they are able to create changes in different aspects of an urban space such as physical condition, dynamics of social life and activities, economic condition and the public image.
The main purpose of this research was to investigate the impacts and consequences of relocating of public organizations such as municipal offices, law enforcement centers, government agencies such as the public prosecutor's office, national organization for civil registration, etc. Inherently these hypothetical interventions are not aligned with conventional urban catalyst projects which are usually multipurpose complexes which contribute to the neighborhood prosperity by increasing attractiveness and economic opportunities, improving infrastructures and services, and ultimately enhancing the quality of life.
Implementation: The main approach in this research is based on the principles of Social Impact Assessment (SIA). In a research context, social impact assessment is a sub-field of the integrated social sciences that is developing a knowledge base to allow a systematic appraisal of impacts on the day-to-day quality of life of persons and communities whose environment is affected by a proposed policy, plan, program, or project. The Inter-organizational Committee on Guidelines and Principles for SIA (1994) expands the
definition to include “all social and cultural consequences to human populations of any public or private actions that alter the ways in which people live, work, play, relate to one another, organize to meet their needs, and generally cope as members of society”.
The following are the criteria that go into making up an SIA variable as shown in the previous paragraph. The scoping process leads to the selection of SIA variables from previous research as well as those relevant to the action under consideration.
• An SIA variable utilizes data that can be gathered and analyzed prior to, during and after each stage in the planning/decision stage.
• Social impact assessment variables always have a qualitative or quantitative indicator.
• The selection of SIA variables comes from research findings based on similar settings and stages in the planning/project life cycle based on a comparative science model.
• Some SIA variables may use, but do not require, data from questionnaire surveys of impacted populations. If census information is not available, detailed surveys may be required.
• The resulting indicators of social change become the basis for understanding the social consequences of a proposed action.
In the end the SIA process identifies alternatives to a proposed action as well as guidelines for enhancement and mitigation.
This research was a hybrid study (using both qualitative and quantitative methods) via the use of different techniques and instruments in terms of methodology.
Financing and resources: This project was financially by Tehran urban research and planning center on a 328000000 IRR budget.
Results and impacts: The identified impacts of the project are divided into 4 categories:
1. Physical impacts:
Preservation of historic buildings
Increasing need for urban services and infrastructure
Increasing need for parking space
Increased local traffic problems
Decreased deterioration and decay
Increasing renovation projects
Upgrading the urban landscape
Enhancing the functionality of the area
Improving public space and spatial justice
Enhancing access to services
2. Economic impacts:
Increasing property prices in the area
Decreasing the utility of adjacent properties
Increasing/ decreasing the prosperity of existing businesses
Increasing the local capacity of investment absorption
3. Social impacts:
Increasing population density
Increasing social control
Decreasing social damages
Increasing/ decreasing security
Occurrence of dysfunctional behavior
Changing the residents’ lifestyle / attitudes
Occurrence of socio-cultural conflicts
Occurrence of gentrification
Facilitating local women’s presence on the streets
Relocation / forced migration
Formation of new social networks
Disrupting the residents’ comfort
Decreasing/ increasing residents' satisfaction
Improving the quality of life
Weakening/ strengthening of local identity
Improving the public image of the neighborhood
Enhancing of urban supervision on deteriorated areas
Occurrence of conflict of interest
Increasing awareness of the local population
Increasing social participation
4. Environmental impacts:
Increasing/ decreasing environmental pollution
Barriers and challenges: Not available
Lessons learned and transferability: The present study was focused on identifying, assessing and managing the impacts of relocating a public organization to a deteriorated areas as an urban catalyst project, as well as finding solutions to increase positive impacts and reduce negative ones. It has reached conclusions that can serve as a roadmap for achieving a baseline in order to making optimum decisions about further interventions. It is obvious that the accurate assessment of these impacts and their management depend on the type and characteristics of the considered organization as well as the conditions of the exact location. Therefore, in the final part of the present study, in order to summarize and integrate the findings and results, the evaluation criteria of different options (whether options for public organizations or options for neighborhoods and locations), in the form of three checklists are extracted: general aspects of the project, the selection of the general organization, and the selection of the project location.
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