By: Mir M.Hosseini
Management of cities in Iran, in its modern form began after Constitutional Monarchy during the first year of Majlis. The law that allowed creation of City Councils actually permitted citizens to govern their own cities apart from complexities of the central government.
Before that, there were some institutions that worked under the sheriff, were regulated by the state and had two major tasks of cleaning and money collection.
The municipality law was codified in 5 chapters and under 108 headlines which took into consideration primary duties of municipalities such as paving streets, cleaning the city and passages, gathering and dumping garbage, and regulation of commercial activities such as supervision on merchants and shops. The City Council members were to be chosen by people. At that time, women could not vote. The council was to choose a president who acted like the assistant to the mayor. But municipalities could not stay independent for a long time. After the coup in 1921, the cabinet of Prime Minister Seyyed Ziaoddin Tabatabayi enforced a law that once again took city councils under state control. In the same year, the City Council building moved to Sepah Square. Thereafter, City Councils operated under supervision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. From 75 representatives chosen by people, only 11 were admitted to the council by the ministry. The president was directly appointed by the state. In this manner, the coup leaders turned municipalities into their own executive power branch rather than public institutions.
After a century, Tehran has become a metropolitan with all problems of big cities such as traffic and pollution. This fact has forced the City Council to engage in more activities such as regulation of constructions, landscaping and green area, cultural activities, crisis management, etc. Municipalities have become an essential source of services to citizens from birth to death. It would have been great if Iran did not follow the fast track in west which has been proven a road to hell, and reach for think tanks to create Iranian models that can preserve ancient heritage alongside environment-friendly development.