People, Environment

Tehran Int’l Fairgrounds Could Turn Into Park

Tehran’s per capita green space stands at 16 square meters.Tehran’s per capita green space stands at 16 square meters.

The proposal to change the designation of 347 hectares of Tehran’s lands from commercial zone to public green space was endorsed by Tehran Municipality’s Article 5 Commission on Monday.

The scheme is slated to be submitted to the High Council for Urbanization and Architecture for final approval.

Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf’s plan proposes that the area of land borderd by Niayesh and Chamran highways and Valiasr Street, which currently covers the Tehran International Permanent Fairgrounds, change from an “S” classification (including commercial and industrial activities) to “G111” (public urban green space with minimum construction).

Qalibaf has come under increasing pressure by environmentalists in recent years for his office’s apparent affinity toward demolishing green spaces in favor of building skyscrapers.

The plan’s “contribution to Tehran’s per capita green space and ecological conditions” were among the motives behind the proposal, according to the TM-run Persian daily Hamshahri.

Given the scale of the project and its potential role in addressing issues such as air pollution, the plan is expected to sail through the high council.

According to data from Tehran’s Governorate, there are currently 2,160 public parks in the metropolis and per capita green space stands at 16 square meters.

Pejman Pashmchizadeh, deputy for architecture and urbanization at the municipality, pointed to the benefits of the plan for the city, noting that if the area retains its current ‘S’ designation, it will not be used in a way that would benefit residents of the sprawling capital.

“Thanks to this proposal, the area will merge with Mellat Park and Enqelab Sports Complex to create an outstanding public space for Tehran’s residents,” he said.

The municipality has also suggested turning parts of Evin Prison in northern Tehran into a park and Pashmchizadeh said the TM is currently negotiating with the Iran Prisons Organization.

“Since the prison is located in the vicinity of the fairgrounds, the potential (positive) impacts of changing sections of it into green space would be immense,” he said.

Sun City (Shahr-e-Aftab) Complex in the southern suburban Tehran was launched in May to replace Tehran’s aging fairgrounds. The project was aimed at tackling the troubles that the previous location caused, including heavy traffic in highways and the resultant air and noise pollution.