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What is visibly wrong with the huge mall-cum-cinema Kourosh Complex is its inappropriate location and shortage of parking space.
What is visibly wrong with the huge mall-cum-cinema Kourosh Complex is its inappropriate location and shortage of parking space.

Love for Malls Gets a Drubbing

The problem of traffic congestion has worsened by the growing number of malls that are being erected at or near major highways and busy intersections

Love for Malls Gets a Drubbing

Latest reports have it that more than 1 million square meters of shopping area is under construction across Tehran, namely in the upscale districts.
During a meeting of the Tehran City Council (TCC) on Tuesday, Mohammad Haqqani, chairman of the council’s Health and Environment Committee, objected to the improper changes in land use in the capital that has paved the way for the huge and increasing number of commercial centers and shopping malls.
“Tehran Municipality (TM) is granting permits to almost all applicants wanting to construct commercial buildings like shopping malls and office buildings, without paying attention to the real needs of each district and  the worsening traffic congestion in the sprawling capital,” the Persian-language newspaper ‘Iran’ quoted  him as saying.
Over the past decade the TM has invested heavily in development of new shopping centers mainly to ensure regular rental income. In other words, the current supply of shopping centers is fueled largely by demand from investors, including TM, and not by the need and demand of consumers.
According to the website invest.tehran.ir, the TM has invested in 47 projects across Tehran, most of which are commercial building projects including a 380,000-square meter ‘Shahrzad Mall’ next to Shahid Baqeri Town (District 22). It is a 46,500 square meter commercial building located in the northern part of Chitgar Lake, and a 24,750 square meter shopping mall in Hengam Street (District 4).
According to the District 22 municipality, the western district which has an area of approximately 10,000 hectares,  was created decades ago to specifically to address the problems of the ever-increasing population and also to accommodate households moving out of central Tehran’s old and worn-out textures.
While the systemic increase in the district’s population, no new schools have been built and instead expensive shopping malls are popping up across the overcrowded district and other areas like wild mushrooms.  
According to Esfandiar Chaharband, head of Education Department of Tehran Province, even several schools in the area were demolished after land prices went through the roof in recent years.  The latest National Population and Housing Census (in 2011) recorded Tehran region’s population as 12 million, eight million of which live in Tehran city. The city’s population was about 7.5 million in the previous census in 2006.
  Malls to Blame for Traffic Jams  
The problem of traffic congestion has worsened by the growing number of malls that are being erected at or near major highways and busy intersections.
One notable example of the controversial projects is the Kourosh Complex on Sattari Expressway: a 17-story mall that opened in 2014 with over 500 stores plus 14 cinemas each with 2,800 seats.
According to urban planning experts, what is visibly wrong with the huge mall-cum-cinema complex is its inappropriate location and shortage of parking space for both shoppers and staff.  
“In all districts in the capital there is some land set aside for urban development , namely for commercial  centers, tourism expansion, and expansion of urban open space (like parks and green spaces), and even to help create a balance in the population living in different areas of the city. The main function of such property is to help restore some balance in urban spacing,” Haqqani said.
“It is indeed regrettable that the TM has allocated most of these lands for construction of shopping malls and commercial centers. These measures have created a lack of community and public access to safe open and green spaces which has become a cause for concern for the residents,” the councilor said.
Open space includes any open piece of land which is undeveloped (has no buildings or other built structures) and is accessible to the public.
 “Open space provides recreational areas for residents and helps enhance the beauty and environmental quality of neighborhoods, he noted.
He referred to Shahrak-e-Gharb neighborhood of the western flank of the capital as the only district in the capital with proper urban planning and per capita green space in line with universal norms. “However commercial and office buildings are also being constructed in that district that can harm its urban landscape.”

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