The holy city of Mashhad is located in the northeast of Iran. It has a population of 3,001,184 and about 20 million pilgrimages and tourists yearly. The Mashhad climate is cold semi-arid with hot summers. The city only sees about 250 millimetres (9.8 inches) of precipitation per year and in recent years, it has faced a sharp decline in rainfall and water shortages.
The 27 km long southern Beltway project of Mashhad in the southern heights of the city was introduced and implemented in 1990 in order to facilitate citizens’ access to suburban highways and reduce the traffic load of the inner-city streets. However, after about 20 years, the negative effects of this highway project were observed on the surrounding environment and the nature of the highlands.
Although environmental reports portrayed a dark future for the region, the construction of the highway continued despite the devastating effects on the environment. Finally, in 2018, in order to protect the environment and the interests of citizens, it was decided to stop the development of the southern part of the beltway. Then a comprehensive environmental protection plan related to this area was developed. Based on the document, different projects such as the development of multi-purpose parks and natural-mountainous parks were designed with the aim of preserving the environment and also developing native vegetation and transforming the “Southern Transport Belt” into a “Green Belt”.
The most important features of this project are as follow: – Stopping the construction of the highway due to its negative effects.