Saturday, February 19, 2011

Low Carbon Housing for `Young Cities`: Experiences from Hashtgerd New Town, Iran

by Sebastian Seelig

Iran is facing tremendous challenges: in the last 30 years, the country’s population has doubled up to 73 million inhabitants in 2009. The median age is 23.5 years and in 2005, 25 % of Iran’s population was in the age group of 15 to 24 years. Besides this natural demographic development, a massive rural-urban migration has led to an explosive urbanization since the 1960s, which is expected to continue in the next years (Roudi-Fahimi, 2007). These processes have placed immense pressure on the cities to deliver infrastructure, services, jobs and - at top priority - housing facilities. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development estimates an ascertained need of about 1.5 million new accommodation units per year for at least the next five years on the formal housing market alone. The main arena of these drastic challenges is the Tehran Metropolitan Region being one of the most rapidly growing agglomerations in West Asia and the Middle East. In 2006, approximately 13.4 million inhabitants were residing in the Metropolitan Region (i.e. Tehran Province; Statistical Center of Iran, 2006), converting Tehran into the political, economic, cultural and social centre of the country.
The urbanization processes and its aftermaths are increasingly overlapping with the climate change and its local consequences. In this regard Tehran is subject to and driver of climate change. Firstly, impacts of climate change will be dramatic for a country characterized by its arid and semi-arid climate, which will be aggravated by climate change. It is estimated that if the CO2 concentration doubled by the year 2100, the average temperature in Iran will increase by 1.5 - 4.5ºC, which will cause more extreme weather events, droughts and significant water scarcity (National Climate Change Office of Islamic Republic of Iran, 2007). It is clear that especially in a megacity like Tehran the impacts of climate change will be increasingly felt. For example rising mean temperatures will boost energy demand for cooling due to the urban heat island effect: This will increase electricity demand by about 20,000 MW in the next 50 years (National Climate Change Office of Islamic Republic of Iran, 2003). Therefore, it must be a major task to adapt the newly constructed urban fabric to changing conditions but to also mitigate Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.
As the capital of the country and the fastest growing urban agglomeration, the Tehran Metropolitan Region is a crucial area for energy use and thus GHG production: Despite the fact that the city only occupies 1.2 % of Iran’s total landmass, it houses 20 % of its population and about 35 % of the country’s industries (Atlas of Tehran City, 2004). Hence Tehran is responsible for a large share of the country’s emissions, since most emissions relate to transportation and power plants and most energy consumption relates to industries, transport and residential sectors.

Milad Tower in Tehran, Iran, photo by nima; hopographer
Residential buildings in North west of Tehran, photo by .mused™

more about urban planning in Iran:

A GIS-based Traffic Control Strategy Planning at Urban Intersections

Urban Planning for Tehran, By Using Environmental Modeling and GIS/RS

No comments:

Post a Comment