Mashhad, Iran

The power of plants and natural ecosystems to deliver benefits

How is the initiative shaped by scientific evidence of the potential for plants and natural ecosystems to deliver benefits?

This Megaproject is located in the metropolis of Mashhad and is the first transformation highway project to an urban park and leisure space in Iran.

Other courageous initiatives of this project include paying special attention to the city’s environment, giving importance to the region’s heights as the city’s geographical memory, focusing on the green belt as the city’s main lungs, changing the use of transportation infrastructure to natural and public green space, and changing the senior officials approach in urban management regarding how to deal with the city natural resources as a vital asset in urban development. After the termination of Highway construction, efforts were made to rehabilitate the damaged natural bed of the hills and mountains of the region, the existing hydrological network was re-design and the per capita urban green space was increased. Other unique features of this initiative include Relying on innovation and finding a creative plan for the reconciliation and friendship of man with nature, preservation of natural values, and establishing a balance between earth and man, which seeks to adapt and coordinate the whole project with nature.

How has the city exploited the potential of plants and associated ecosystems to deliver more than one benefit?

In the first study phase, an appendix entitled Environmental Annex was prepared to examine the project’s effects on the natural environment. According to these studies and based on the “Executive Regulations for Environmental Management of Civil Projects”, it was determined that the implementation of this project will not be harmful provided that the highway is removed. This amount of effects can be controllable according to the type of leisure and general use of the project. The most important lasting positive effect of this huge project will be the restoration of the water routes and the formation of surface water outlets, and in terms of risk management is to create a suitable space for possible storage of food and medicine and facilities in emergencies, and to use this area as a gateway to the southern heights of Mashhad and provide related infrastructure services. In addition, due to the content link of the project with sub-projects such as Kuhshar, Kuh Park, Khorshid Park, Chehelbazeh Park, Rudpark, Haft Houz Complex, and especially the Green Belt, it will create suitable ecological interconnections between urban ecosystems.

The main approach of this project is “Development of urban spaces with leisure, cultural, educational, recreational, sports and …” The ultimate goals of this mega project are:

  • Promoting the values and natural and climatic specifics of the region.
  • Creating a place for people to connect with nature.
  • Filling citizens’ leisure time by using cultural ecosystems.
  • Creating a site for recognizing nomadic and rural ecosystems.