Identification, Dimension and Evaluation of Catalytic Projects in Tehran, Iran

Elnaz Sarkheyli (1), Kianoosh Zakerhaghighi (2)
(1) Senior Lecturer at Malmö University, Sweden,
(2) Associate Professor, Hamedan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Hamedan, Iran.


Since the 1980s, a wide range of physical and non-physical interventions, including megaprojects and flagships to small-scale projects and temporary usage, are prescribed as catalysts for urban regeneration. The strategy of utilizing urban catalysts as a tool for urban renewal has been encouraging by many city authorities through specific subsidization and privileges. However, there is no correct and precise definition of the tools and the qualities they should provide as their impacts. Besides, some criticize the catalytic projects due to their unsustainable, unjust, and destructive consequences.  This paper intends to provide a more comprehensive definition of urban catalysts by reviewing the existing literature. The research has been done through a deductive and inductive approach to reach the principal dimensions and criteria for catalytic projects. It uses a series of potential projects and interventions in the City of Tehran (16 projects and practices) as case studies to check the dimensions and criteria and the quality of each project as catalysts. The quality of the selected case studies was ranked through expert judgment and checklist method. The findings show the cases' rank on how their catalytic impacts comply with sustainable development goals. According to the results, seven criteria (environmental sustainability, context-based development, pattern making, branding, social quality of life, economic prosperity, and market adaptability) are essential to ensure the sustainability of catalytic impacts of catalyst projects.

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Elnaz Sarkheyli
[email protected] (Primary Contact)
Kianoosh Zakerhaghighi
Sarkheyli, E., & Zakerhaghighi, K. (2021). Identification, Dimension and Evaluation of Catalytic Projects in Tehran, Iran. Environmental Science & Sustainable Development, 6(1), 38–51.

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