Smart transformation in Iran (Part 2)

Smart transformation in Iran

It is a fundamental change in the performance of a service, business, organization, or on another scale in a city, rural, region, country, and at every scale. 

The important question is, what exactly is "Smart Transformation"? Smart transformation is a fundamental change in the performance of a service, business, organization, or on another scale in a city, rural, region, country, and at every scale.

Smart transformation is not achieved only with widespread usage of new technologies such as ICT infrastructure, artificial intelligence, IoT, cloud computing, virtual reality, augmented reality, data analysis, and online applications and services; rather it's using them in a smart manner for facing challenges.

We need smart citizens who, with an accurate understanding of the necessity of using these technologies, can use these services unconsciously and by default, and even improve them. In other words, it is the citizen and the user who can achieve smart transformation. And the smart transformation must build on the social, economic, cultural, environmental context.

One of the most important challenges of cities and organizations in a developing country such as Iran, is the new trend of extreme urbanization and its consequences on living space, economic and political system, along with the opportunities and needs arising with new technologies. In Iran, along with other urban issues, the problems of integrated urban management are one of the most important challenges of the administrative system and bureaucracy.

Therefore, one of the most important challenges and crises of urban management in Iran due to urbanization can be identity crises (housing cost, distorted identity structure of neighborhoods and social context), functional crises (including urban management challenges with high population mentioned economic challenges for citizens) transportation and service crises, environmental crises and other crises.

Accordingly, scientific urban management is the most basic thing that can be effective in the fields of environmental, economic, social participation, and preservation of the urban environment in the form of development management, participatory management, knowledge management, endogenousness, development control, smart growth and so on.

Therefore, the structure of urban management in Iran in the form of an introverted structure, decentralized and with minimal inter-institutional partnership and low level of citizen participation, regarding achieving the standards of smart urban management, structural and fundamental changes are required.

Obviously, as these structural changes in developed countries have taken place over time and as a continuous process, an overall understanding of smart urban management in Iran requires the development of a comprehensive and step-by-step process. This process is explained in the present study in the form of "Smart Transformation of the Urban Management".

Reviewing and evaluating of actions had been made in Iran in the context of smart city and smart urban management, especially in leading cities such as Mashhad, Isfahan, and Tehran shows that the effort and intention of urban management only focused on undertaking the new technologies in the urban management system. However, the measures taken can be limited to achieving electronic urban management and basic measures to provide smart services with the mere utilization of applications and technology facilities.

The general principles of achieving smart urban management are summarized in four categories: intelligent and integrated strategies, policies and laws, master plans and projects, guiding and integrating actions, and integrating services and partnerships.

Based on this, at the forefront of achieving smart urban management in Iran is having a comprehensive approach to urban development strategies, policies, programs, and plans as well as formulating integrated economic, social, cultural, and environmental goals with regards to the novel smart cites criteria.

Achieving these goals requires evaluating the results and consequences of urban systems for economic, social, cultural, and environmental changes and requires fundamental smart changes in the theories, organization, planning, and urban management.

Due to the current type of urban management system in Iran, a comprehensive change is required in order to spread smartness in all layers, dimensions, and processes of urban management in an integrated and coordinated manner, which in this study is called "Smart Transformation of urban Management".

The smart urban management transformation, in fact, is the use of new technologies and innovations as a tool to achieve smart management for Iranian cities. Smart transformation in the structure of urban management will not be achieved with maximum utilization of technology and online services, etc.; rather, it is a multidimensional process that extends smartness to all aspects of a city's management (including processes, services, urban interventions, policy-making, etc.).

Changing the structure and fundamental approach of urban management in Iran is an obvious necessity due to the need to be adapted to the development of technologies and productivity of practical and successful global experiences.

However, due to the new achievements as well as the rapid development of new technologies, structural changes, and alignment with current world knowledge and experience, there will be various challenges and limitations in the process of the smart transformation of Iran’s urban management. The most important factor in the uncertainty of structural plans and managerial changes in the use of global experiences is the different cultural and social contexts of Iran.

The challenges facing urban management to transform into smart urban management and explain the smart city management system can be summarized as follows:

  • The first and high important issue is the lack of comprehensive and integrated strategies and policies.
  • The introduction of new technologies in the urban management system may face incompatibility of old and new systems. The integration of new programs and software with traditional and older models involves significant costs (new hardware and software and the cost of training human resources).
  • Lack of existing technical infrastructure because of sanctions to keep up with new changes is another major challenge for smart urban management. Technical and scientific training programs and keeping all groups up to date are essential to keep up with the changes of the information and communication technology age.
  • The use of advanced technologies increases complexity and uncertainty and may not be consistent with the existing cultural system. Therefore, localization and formulation of the structure and performance plan of urban management should use only successful examples and be designed and planned in accordance with the cultural context of society.
  • A participatory urban management system with a large number of factors, effective groups, and citizens needs a mechanism to control the commitment and loyalty of stakeholders and private and public sectors of production and industry to the principles and objectives of operations and strategies.


  • Dr. Amin Faraji, Assistant prof. at University of Tehran and President of Smart City Research Center of Iran, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Engr. Amin Gharibi, Vice-President of Smart City Research Center of Iran, University of Tehran, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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