EghtesadOnline: To commemorate the World Cities Day internationally marked on Oct. 31, the fourth edition of Tehran Golden Adobe Global Award was held at the iconic Milad Tower on Saturday with focus on smart cities and technologies.
Golden Adobe is a global award for the best urban projects and practices. Jointly organized by the United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN-Habitat) and Tehran Municipality, the event was attended by mayors, urban leaders, local and urban officials and representatives of diplomatic corps and international organizations.
According to TM’s website, Tehran.ir, Tehran Golden Adobe is awarded to the best projects and practices in cities, regions and communities throughout the world, and aims to recognize the importance of local governments and urban management in promoting the social and economic environment, as well as the sustainability of cities and regions along with improving the living condition of citizens, Financial Tribune reported.
This year's edition was themed "creation of smart, resilient and livable cities for all".
A competition was held in seven areas, namely resiliency, livability and sustainability of urban development; public participation and urban socio-cultural development; architecture, urbanism, cultural heritage and urban regeneration; smart and creative human-oriented cities; provision of resources, investment, entrepreneurship, employment and urban economy; development of infrastructures, public transportation and urban services; and promotion of local governance, planning and management.
The jury selected and introduced three superior projects in each area. The winners were handed a certification and plaque of honor. In addition, 21 runner-up projects were also honored.
According to the award's website, evaluation criteria included stability, resiliency, innovativeness, effectiveness, replicability, importance and global relevance.
The award is a comprehensive, scientific and nonprofit initiative that specializes in supporting superior international urban management projects and facilitating the exchange of best urban management practices.
The website says such innovations and initiatives in the field of urban development and management can play an important role in promoting the inhabitability of cities and the citizens’ quality of life.
Senior Officials at the Event
Speaking at the ceremony, Tehran Mayor Pirouz Hanachi said poverty, growing suburban population and fossil fuel consumption are common challenges faced by all metropolises across the world.
"This event is to create an opportunity for urban managers worldwide to share their experiences and find smart solutions to improve life in cities," Hanachi added.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi also told the gathering that such international events can play a prominent role in fostering peace and friendship with foreign countries.
Providing a brief report on entries sent to the event, Gholamhossein Mohammadi, the head of TM's Office for Communications and International Affairs, said 197 projects from Iranian participants and 322 projects from 27 countries were submitted.
According to Mohammadi, the number of participants this year saw a jump compared to the figure in the previous event.
In the third edition of the award held in 2016, 255 projects were submitted, of which 183 were received from foreign cities.
The award coincided with the meeting of Committee on Smart Cities and Urban Mobility at the United Cities and Local Governments World Organization (the Middle East and West Asia section) in Tehran.
The gathering was attended by UN-Habitat representative in Iran, Mehmet Emin Akdogan, officials of the International Society of City and Regional Planners, Iranian high-ranking officials and urban managers.
The committee is a platform for local authorities to share and exchange experiences.
It aims to improve the knowledge of local authorities and citizens in the field of new technologies and to strengthen networking between local authorities of the Middle East and West Asia region with the final goal of providing citizens with better and high-quality services.
Iraj Shahin-Baher, mayor of Tabriz and a deputy head of the Committee on Smart Cities, elaborated on the realization of a smart city.
"Converting metropolises into smart cities in Iran faces challenges, including lack of comprehensive data on urban management organizations and the officials' reluctance to share this information," he said.
Shahin-Baher urged the ICT Ministry to tackle these issues and help those who are making efforts in this regard.
ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, who was also present at the event, said, “Cities are nothing but their citizens. With public effort and resilience, problems related to urban development and converting metropolises into smart cities will be solved.”
Jahromi noted that with the growing urbanization across the world, its associated problems will also increase.
"In Iran, also, experts have estimated that the number of people living in cities will increase 75% by 2050. Consequently, public transportation, traffic congestion, air and environmental pollution and waste disposal will turn into more serious issues for citizens," he said.
Pointing to the fact that ICT projects and smart solutions are able to alleviate these problems, Jahromi said without smart innovations, managing cities like Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan and Tabriz will be almost impossible.
He, however, did not outline proposals or commitments his ministry could undertake to facilitate the same.
“Today, internet of things, cloud computing, big data, open-source data and other smart technologies are available and capable of collecting and analyzing data,” he said.
"Technologies should be put into practice to provide the society with improved urban services and better living conditions."
Jahromi noted that to realize a smart city, urban projects and smart ideas implemented in cities should be constantly monitored and the emerging deficiencies should be obviated.
"Then we can talk about how much we have progressed toward establishing a smart city," he said.