People, Environment

DOE Insists on Scrapping Construction Directive

The DOE argues that the directive has sped up the disappearance of Tehran’s green spaces.The DOE argues that the directive has sped up the disappearance of Tehran’s green spaces.

A senior official at the Department of Environment has called on the new members of Tehran City Council to scrap a controversial directive issued 14 years ago by the council.

Known as the “Tower-Garden Directive”, it was meant to protect Tehran’s green spaces by limiting construction areas. It seemed great in theory, but has been a disaster in practice.

Mohammad Darvish, director of DOE’s Public Participation office and a strong opponent of the directive, says the department wants it to be annulled, ISNA reported.

“While over 70% of the capital’s green spaces have been ruined over the past 60 years, the directive passed in 2003 has only helped speed things along,” he said.

The directive was ratified in the city council and approved by the country’s High Council for Urban Development and Architecture in 2003. It has featured prominently in urban plans designed by Tehran Municipality.

Based on the directive, construction is only allowed in 30% of a private garden area and the remaining 70% have to be preserved as green space.

While the directive’s intention is positive, a number of reasons have turned it into a bane for Tehran’s vanishing green areas.

District mayors often permit the extension of construction areas to 40-50%, justifying their actions by arguing that tall buildings require a larger foundation.

Also, to create a parking space, underground garages were often built for which parts of the garden area had to be ravaged to create ramps.

Lamenting the legal loopholes in the directive and other construction laws, Darvish referred to it as “the worst of its kind in the country”, expressing disbelief that certain groups and individuals still defend it.

“Iranians will never forgive those who propose and pass such regulations, neither will they forget those who ensure the survival of these rules,” he said.

Darvish called on all relevant officials to help protect the few remaining gardens in Tehran from excessive construction.

He urged the government and municipalities to purchase and protect privately-owned green spaces if property owners are unable or do not wish to preserve their gardens.

The current Tehran City Council members have also expressed their objection to the rule.

Mohammad Haqqani, the head of the council’s Environment Committee, has said the directive is “against the law”, noting that it will eventually wipe out the capital’s gardens.

Rahmatollah Hafezi, the head of the council’s Health, Environment and Urban Services Commission, has said the rule has devastated Tehran’s gardens.

Neither Hafezi nor Haqqani will be in the new city council, which will hold its first session in late July or early August, but the new members are expected to take pro-environment measures.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints