Identification and Prioritization of Influential Thematic Areas in Developing the National Urban Policy in Iran

Document Type : Research Article


1 Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran

2 PhD of Urban Planning, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

3 Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Iran

4 Assistant Professor of Accounting and Management, University of Allameh Tabataba’i, Tehran, Iran



Iran has gone through a very rapid urbanization in the last six decades. The fast pace of urbanization of the country calls for an integrated planning to move  towards sustainable urban development and resilient and livable cities. Despite five decades of history in preparation of urban plans and two decades of history since the introduction of urban management in Iran, the urban policymaking, in practice and theory, remains largely neglected in the urban development system of the country. In the absence of well-defined and integrated urban policies, different actors contribute to the urban develpment based on individual decisions. In this context, the National Urban Policy (NUP) as an initiative by UN-Habitat can play a role in directing Iran’s rapid urbanization towards sustainable development. Taking into consideration the specific needs and circumstannecs of Iran, this paper focuses on the identification and prioritization of the main thematic areas for development of the National Urban Policy (NUP). The research employs a qualitative method with an exploratory approach to identify the main influential thematic areas in developing the NUP, and a quantitative method with Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) technique to prioritize the identified thematic areas of the NUP. Accordingly, for the qualitative part, the data was collected through studying the urban planning and policy making documents and conducting semi-structured interviews with experts. The results of the research introduce thirteen priority areas for the formulation of the NUP in Iran which are divided into three categories, including issues caused by “the lack of agility of the urban planning system in keeping up with the rapid pace of urbanization in Iran”, “institutional and legal needs and gaps of urban planning system of the country”, and issues related to “the emerging global changes and challenge.”


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