10 Satellite Towns Planned Around Mashhad

10 Satellite Towns Planned Around Mashhad10 Satellite Towns Planned Around Mashhad

Studies are underway to build 10 new satellite towns around Mashhad, capital of Khorasan Razavi Province. The plan is being perused by the Provincial Supreme Council and the new commission on metropolises formed recently by the government to specifically examine problems of bigger cities, said Gholamreza Basiripour, council chairman.

Mashhad’s total population is 2.7 million, of which 400,000 live in the center of the metropolis, while 1.2 million have been pushed to the outskirts to eke out a living. Among them 300,000 are Afghan refugees, Khabaronline quoted him as saying.

Effective management of the city’s scattered population is not possible; therefore new satellite towns should be built to accommodate and provide necessary facilities for the growing urban population and prevent development of unofficial settlements in outlying areas.

“Currently, we are studying proposals to build 10 new smaller metropolitan towns around the city. The implementation of the plan will be significant in reducing informal settlements and their negative social, economic and cultural consequences, he said.

The towns will be built in collaboration with both state-run and private sectors.

Annually, Mashhad hosts more than 30 million foreign and local pilgrims who visit the shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH), the Eighth Shia Imam. Therefore, it is necessary to expand infrastructural facilities and this will require national support.

In the 2007 census, nearly 883,000 people were living in informal settlements in Mashhad, but now the figure has crossed 1.2 million. Totally, 10 million people in the country live in outlying areas.

High prices of housing in urban areas and earthquakes in southern part of Khorasan Razavi Province are two main reasons for the mushrooming of informal settlements around the peripheries, he said.

Five years ago, on July 30, 2010 an earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale hit Torbat-e Heidariyeh county in the southern part of the province and devastated more than 25 residences. Many homes in 190 villages of the county were also damaged in the quake, which led to large-scale migration to the fringes of Mashhad city.

The holy city is the second most populous after Tehran and is located in the northeast of the country.

Unofficial settlements are a global phenomenon. They are heavily populated urban areas characterized by substandard housing, inadequate access to clean water and sanitation, high rate of crime and a constantly changing residential population.

Often, they are vulnerable to natural disasters such as landslides and floods.