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The government plans to construct 11 new towns across the country by the year 2041, in addition to the existing 17 new towns.
The government plans to construct 11 new towns across the country by the year 2041, in addition to the existing 17 new towns.

New Satellite Towns Unattractive Still

The 17 satellite towns, built after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 on the peripheries of eight metropolises, are still far from having achieved the desired results that prompted their development in the first place
The newly-built towns have failed to provide jobs forcing residents to commute to urban areas far and near to be able to make ends meet

New Satellite Towns Unattractive Still

The government says it will construct 11 new towns across the country by the year 2041. This is while the 17 satellite towns, built after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 on the peripheries of eight metropolises, are still far from having achieved the desired results that prompted their development in the first place.
Poor quality of life is the main reason these new towns have failed to attract people. A draft document, prepared by the organization in charge of development of new towns for the Supreme Council of Architecture and Urbanization, has outlined flaws and failures of the 17 new towns and proposed effective ways for developing the other eleven.
The document focuses on ten major flaws in the towns and suggests solutions to the authorities to address the problems and at the same time cautions against making the same mistakes again, the Persian-language newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad, a sister publication of the Financial Tribune, reported.
The document will be reviewed at the council’s next meeting and if approved will be sent to the relevant executive bodies and state organizations.
A ‘comprehensive plan for the construction of new towns’ was developed in the 1980s with the aim to house surplus populations converging on the big cities. A total of 17 new towns were developed after the revolution, including Parand, Hashtgerd, Pardis, Andisheh, Majlesi, Baharestan, Fooladshahr, Sahand, Sadra, Golbahar, Binalood, Aalishahr, Mohajeran, Alawi, Ramin, Ramshar, and Tis.
Unsuitable location, inadequacy of public transport, schools and hospitals, lack of utilities and basic infrastructure, limited private sector investments, and shortage of recreation facilities are some of the problems of the new towns.
Another major problem is that the newly-built towns resemble what is better known as dormitories. They have failed to provide jobs for the residents, forcing residents to commute to urban areas far and near to be able to make ends meet.    
The report suggests that for a city to be flourishing, at least 50% of its capacity must be utilized. Moreover, people from diverse social strata should be able find decent housing in the towns.  
The optimal capacity of the 17 existing cities is estimated at 4 million residents; however currently, hardly 766,000 people (20%) are living in the newly-constructed towns while almost 80% of the capacity remains unused.
Global experience has it that for satellite towns to become attractive for investors, it must have a population of more than 100,000. This is while only five of the existing new towns currently have a population close to 100,000 people.  These include Andisheh in Alborz Province, Parand in southwest Tehran, Fouldshahr near Isfahan, Sadra in Fars Province and Alavi in Hormozgan Province.
In 2007, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered free land and cheap credit to contractors to build low-cost housing as part of the controversial project known as Mehr Housing Program. From among the 2.3 million Mehr housing units constructed so far, almost 400,000 are in the 17 towns and suffer greatly from poor urban infrastructure and lack of utilities and services.

  Tehran Bursting
Overpopulation in the metropolitan areas is indeed the main reason the satellite towns popped up. The population in Tehran is just one troubling example. It has long lost its usefulness as a decent place to live due largely to the toxic air, noise pollution, torturous traffic, high and rising housing costs, and prohibitive costs of living.
A paper submitted to the International Conference on Urban Economy held recently by the Iran Urban Economics Scientific Association suggests that Tehran’s population exceeds the optimum level by more than 70%. In other words, the 24/7 expanding capital can only provide 2.38 million of its eight million residents with decent living conditions.
Based on these key issues, the document suggests measures to improve the quality of life in the new towns and avoid similar problems in the planned  towns for which preliminary studies are underway. The measures include: expanding recreational and cultural spaces, improving social class diversity by attracting more affluent residents, providing high-speed rail transport to major cities, and attracting foreign investments.
With the objective of building environment-friendly cities with strong buildings and smart commute systems, a board member of the New Towns Development Company, affiliated to the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, recently said agreements with companies from Germany, Italy and South Korea have been signed to share their expertise and experience in building the new towns and cities.
According to the agreements, the foreign companies will help in a variety of ways, including helping with preliminary studies for establishing the new cities, building hospitals, and the design and implementation of subways.

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