عنوان مقاله [English]
Our country’s cities and municipalities face numerous social, economic, and environmental problems. According to many experts, the root of an essential part of these problems lies in the inefficiency of the urban planning and management system. The results of various research in recent decades on the institutional, financial, and functional dimensions of urban management in Iran indicate the overlap and interference of responsibilities of state and public organizations, lack of coordination in the provision of municipal services, limited scope and power of local institutions, financial instability, territorial fragmentation, and other problems. Naturally, in response to various institutional, policy, and functional fragmentations, the appropriate solution to increase the integration and coherence in decision-making and action, in the form of “integrated urban management,” has been sought.
Materials and methods
In general, two rational and comprehensive strategies can be adopted to deal with functional fragmentation within cities: a) Merger and integration of all active organizations in cities and the establishment of a large and unified organization that has all responsibilities for planning and management; B) Designation of a significant organization (among organizations active in urban planning and management) to coordinate all plans, programs, and activities of organizations involved in urban planning and management based on a plan which is accepted by all of them. The first strategy, which is radical, requires very large organizational consolidations that are not politically feasible and will face many organizational resistances and legal obstacles. In contrast, the second strategy has a higher capacity for implementation because the existing organizational power structure is largely maintained. Only activities centered on a single agreed plan will be monitored by a significant (lead) organization. Suppose this significant and coordinating organization is called the lead organization due to its role in inter-organizational interactions. In that case, the critical question in implementing this strategy is which organization can or must play the leading role of organizations active in the city to achieve integrated urban management. Based on the arguments presented in this article, compared to all existing organizations, the city council, and the municipality have the most appropriateness for the leadership role of organizations active in urban planning and management. For the current research, we reviewed the existing studies and legal documents and conducted in-depth interviews with city and government managers and executives. These sources were used to obtain data and test the analytical model. Our analytical model is based on an ideal type model.
This article, which studied the dimension of functional integration in detail, shows that some fundamental principles in this field need to be emphasized: First, delegating more tasks and functions to the council and the municipality will lead to greater integration of urban management and, as a result, greater efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability. Second, the council and the municipality are the closest management level to the citizens and therefore have more legitimacy and efficiency than other state organizations in providing services. Third, it is evident that due to the centralized and sectoral structure of government in Iran and due to the lack of understanding of mutual interests between the municipality and other service institutions, the possibility of automatic formation of coordinating mechanisms and relevant institutions- based on the strategy of the lead organization or voluntary delegation of functions from state organizations to municipalities- will not be possible. Therefore, the only way to achieve this goal is to convince the central government (cabinet and parliament) to change their attitude and issue political and administrative mandates at the highest level to form this type of inter-organizational coordination mechanism. Fourth, a pilot transition to integrated urban management, either through the transfer of responsibilities to municipalities or through the assumption of the role of the lead organization by the council and the municipality, is better to start with metropolitan municipalities due to the need for high organizational capacity.
Based on the arguments presented in this article, compared to all existing organizations, the city council, and the municipality have the most appropriateness for the leadership role of organizations active in urban planning and management.