Publication: “An Overview to Tehran River Restoration: Challenges and Solutions”

Date: August, 2017


When Tehran has been selected as the capital of Iran in 1796, it was a small village in the downhill of mountain with several rivers. At least seven major rivers were running from the north to south of Tehran. Nowadays, Tehran with a population of around 8.5 million in the city and 12 million in the wider metropolitan area is the most populous city of Iran. However, Tehran Rivers have been disappeared almost completely due to the rapid urban development, especially over the course of the past half a century. River encroachment and shrinking river bed, channelization and using concrete walls for river banks and bed, cutting the natural course of rivers and divert them to the man-made channels as well as covering and buried them under roads and urban constructions are among a few actions that made Tehran Rivers inaccessible for citizens with no role in the daily life of inhabitants. “Master Plan of Tehran River Improvement and Restoration” has been launched in April 2015 after a few years’ discussion between Tehran Municipality, Tehran City Council and Ministry of Energy of Iran. The overall project objective was to create and promote connectivity between, and attractiveness of, Tehran Rivers, City and Citizens on various scales ranging from local urban design to the city’s overall spatial development. Moreover, it contributes to a create new image of Tehran City according to the Goal no. 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2015-30): “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (UN General Assembly, 2015). This paper is describing challenges as well as findings of the ongoing “Master Plan” study for Tehran river improvement and restoration. Implementation of the pilot project have proved that restoration of urban rivers in large city such as Tehran requires a holistic approach with a range of technologies and tools suitable for arid and semi-arid areas.
Key Words: Dryland Rivers, Seasonal River Restoration, Sustainable Cities, Tehran River Restoration, Urban River Restoration Master Plan

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