Analyzing the Most Important Skills Needed For Urban Planners In Iran And The Success Of The Undergraduate Education in Transferring Those Skills

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Professor of Urban Design and Planning, Department of Urban Planning, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran.

2 PhD of Urban Planning, Department of Urban Planning, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran


There has been extensive debates about the similarities and differences between urban planning educations in developed versus developing counties. Some believe that increasing interdependence among nations, an ever greater need for cross – cultural cooperation,  is required to close the gap in skill and knowledge between developed and developing countries and shrinking international borders make it necessary to have universalism in planning education (Amirahmadi,1990). On the other hand significant differences in value systems, stages of development, and socio – economic priorities between developed and developing countries make some fundamental differences in education in developing countries which could not be ignored (Burayidi,1993). In fact, urban planning education currently offered in the developed western countries may not be quite relevant and adequate for the students in the developing countries, which is due to fact that there exist real challenges in developing worlds (Banerjee, 1990).
These challenges make it necessary for urban planners in developing countries to have some specific skills to be successful in a world with different planning processes, compared to developed countries.  For example, while the proposed plan should be accepted by the public or residents of a neighborhood in a developed country, it only needs the approval of certain elected/selected officials in developing countries. This means that although communication skill is the most important skill in developed countries (Gospodini & Skayannis, 2005), it is the technical role which is the most important skill of planners in the third world countries (Diaw, Nnkya, & Watson, 2002). It becomes, therefore, obvious the required skills to be taught to planning students in developing countries, such as Iran, are not quite similar to that of developed countries.
This paper has two objectives. First, attempt will be made to prioritize urban planner's skills, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, in developing countries, using the case of Iran, and second, to survey how much planning education in Iran has been successful in training this skills.A total of 341 questionnaires were filled by planning directors and instructors, students and graduates of eleven universities throughout all over Iran.
The results of this research show that there is a crucial difference between urban planners’ skills in developing vs developed countries which comes from difference in preparation and approval procedure of urban development plans in these countries. While the most important skill required for planner in developed countries is communication skill; it is not the case for developing ones. For an urban planner in Iran, it is the team working, technical, and data collecting skills in the undergraduate level, and analytical skills, oral presentation and problem defining in the  graduate level that are regarded as the most important skills for planners. Managerial skills, such as ability to prepare a budget program and project management is less important, both for planners with undergraduate and graduate degrees. Planning education in Iran is at the moderate level in training planning skills. It is more successful in training analytical, technical and oral presentation skills while management skills, relation with other planners and official are neglected.


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