Analysis of opportunities and challenges of development of city diplomacy in Tehran metropolis

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, School of Urban Planning, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran

2 MA in Urban Management, School of Urban Planning, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran


Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. The aspects of globalization can be classified in four dimensions: social and cultural globalization, economic globalization, political globalization and globalization of law. A review of recent urban and regional studies shows that these studies has affected from globalization literature in past three decades after the universal use of global/world city term. 
One of the main changes made in this area is increasing importance achieving of city diplomacy as a new type of diplomacy. City diplomacy is the tool of local governments and their associations to help local governments in conflict and war by means of concrete and practical city-to-city cooperation with the aim of creating a stable environment in which the citizens can live together in peace, democracy and prosperity.
Furthermore, playing an active and effective role in city diplomacy field leads to achieve sustainable interests for Tehran in order to overcome predominant restrictions in urban planning and urban management system in Iran. Some of these sustainable interests are feasibility of international experience, technical and financial exchange, reducing inappropriate impacts of international institute's decisions and policies on Tehran and Iran, increasing possibility of bargaining and achieving some concessions in international organizations.
 This paper is based on secondary analysis and meta-analysis shows that although Tehran has some opportunities like establishment of some international institute's offices in Tehran, having sister-city relationships with a number of cities around the world, presence in some international institutes of urban development and at last its geopolitical importance and particular position in regional relations, it couldn't reach to an appropriate position in city diplomacy field so far, due to some restrictions and limitations such as political challenges and foreign affairs in governmental scale, lack of institutional and professional framework for development in city diplomacy field in addition to lack of necessary infrastructures and software facilities.
The paper shows that because of the resistance and unwillingness of Iran central government to play a more active role in the global domain, policy making to achieve a better situation for Tehran in the global system has been ignored for years.
This research describes that even non-global cities need a clear and integrated urban governance and city diplomacy strategy to play a more effective role in global era to maximize the positive effects and minimize the negative impacts of globalization. It shows that ignoring city diplomacy capacities leads to a loss of opportunities that will bring a huge flow of globalization.On top of them are enhancing the urban competitiveness and the ability to play a more active role in city diplomacy domain. So, even non-global cities can also be proactive and use constructive policy to gain globalization process positive effects as opportunities to exploit the realization of sustainable urban development. Because of this, the paper presents some policy recommendations that can help Tehran to achieve a more active role in global domain and city diplomacy area.