Carrying Capacity Maxed Out in Tehran

Carrying Capacity Maxed Out in TehranCarrying Capacity Maxed Out in Tehran

Air pollution and traffic jams have become inseparable parts of Tehran to the extent that it is difficult to talk about the Iranian capital without mentioning one of those two factors. Residents have long witnessed the unrestrained construction of skyscrapers and disappearing gardens so that the municipality could make a profit! The debt owed to the municipality by previous administrations only exacerbated the aggressive and unacceptable urbanization.

According to Muhammad Haghani, who chairs the Tehran City Council Environment Committee, the Tehran Municipality earned 18,000 billion rials ($5.3 billion) only through land use change permits over the past four years. Furthermore, the TM’s affinity for granting construction licenses, especially in the upscale districts, in the already exploding megacity has only made a bad situation worse, according to Haghani.

In recent years, Tehran has lost nearly half of its urban open space, and should the trend continue, the city will become all but uninhabitable. Speaking to ILNA news agency, the deputy head of the provincial Department of Environment Daryoush Golalizadeh said providing the municipality with sustainable income is the best way to assure its compliance with acceptable city planning norms.

“Otherwise, they will resort to demolishing (more) green spaces to construct buildings to sell.”

He also warned against the potential fallouts of overpopulation, saying that populating a city beyond its carrying capacity may lead to hazardous environmental impacts.

Golalizadeh was critical of faulty policies which have aggravated the situation in Tehran, saying, “85% of students who come to Tehran to study and 85% of young men sent to the capital for military service end up staying in the city.”

He believes policies such as these encourage mass migration to Tehran, now home to over 12 million people. “One way to address the plight is for universities in Tehran to only offer graduate and PhD programs, thus reducing the number of people coming here to study,” he said. The DoE official stressed the need for easy access to natural landscapes such as the mountains surrounding Tehran. “Having easy access to natural landscapes, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, is a necessity.” He urged the officials to ban constructions on hilltops.