CDS in Iran (Nigel Harris)

Nigel Harris has been working with the World Bank developing the ToR for City Development Strategies (CDS) for three cities in Iran.

It is assumed in Iran that the Iranian economy will continue to open up and there will be significant measures of governmental decentralization to the provincial and city level. In this context: i) how are Iranian cities to reorient themselves to cope with global competition, and if this is to be achieved through the preparation of City Development Strategies, ii) how are CDS to be incorporated in the existing planning system?

The three missions to Iran (Dec05/Jul.06/Sept.06), with Dr Ramin Keivani of Oxford Brookes University (DPU PhD 1983), and under a grant from the Cities Alliance (within a 12 year World Bank lending programme for Urban Upgrading and Housing Reform) were to answer the second question and prepare terms of reference for international consultancies to undertake City Development Strategies.

The first mission was to understand the present Iranian planning system, brief the staff of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and make a field visit to Bandas Abbas (at that stage selected for CDS) to brief provincial and city-level staff, NGOs, universities and local business people etc. The second visit was to intensify the CDS briefing process to the planning staff in Teheran, laying down criteria for selecting cities for CDS (Bandar Abbas having been cancelled as first choice). It was agreed that rather than try to fit CDS into the planning system, CDS should be undertaken on a pilot basis and then evaluated before framing a general formula. By the time of the third mission, three cities had been selected - Qazim, Anzali and Shahoud. The briefing process in Teheran was extended to the Ministry of the Interior (local government directorate), Planning and Budgeting (Vice President), private consultancies, etc. followed by field visits to two cities (Qazim and Anzali) and intensive briefing sessions for governmental staff from the three cities and their provinces (including Shahoud). At the end, the consultants designed the terms of reference for consultants to tender for the CDS contracts.

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