A new urban center is being built near Tehran, and private investors are at the forefront of its development.

The Parand City development is an important government initiative to reduce the population of Tehran and provide the capital's residents with an improved urban environment. The city is expected to be an important center of attraction for urbanites due to its location near the main international airport, as well as the positioning of two industrial parks nearby that are being built at the same time as the rest of the urban development initiative. It is also going to be one of the centers of the ongoing Mehr Housing Scheme, a nationwide project to provide low-income earners with affordable residential accommodation.

There are many reasons behind the government's desire to bring Tehran's explosive population growth under control. Currently, more than 8 million people live in Tehran, while another 4-5 million commute to the city from nearby areas on a daily basis for work and education. This creates huge pressures on the city's infrastructure, which is manifested in the heavy traffic and air and noise pollution that the city has become notorious for of late. Equally, there are worries that the northern and northeastern parts of the city may be exposed to excessive earthquake risks. Parand City has been designed as a satellite city offering potential residents a modern mixed-use space containing all of the facilities that a community requires without being dependent on downtown Tehran.

Parand City is located 35 kilometers south of Tehran near Imam Khomeini Airport, which is designed to handle 40 million passengers annually. The new satellite city also has access to the Tehran-Jonoob railway, and the Tehran-Qom and Tehran-Saveh highways, which provide Parand City with good access to local and regional network transportation networks.

The development of Parand City will be accomplished in two industrial phases and six residential phases ranging from Phase 0 to Phase 5. In the completed phases 0 to 3, 15,000 housing units have been built so far and 35,000 people are currently living in the area. Saeed Sabouni, General Manager of Parand New Development, the public agency responsible for the city's development, says that the emphasis was put on designing a safe and attractive urban space. For example, 22 schools have already been built and children can reach their schools quickly and safely using purpose-built walkways.

In addition to the residential and industrial areas being constructed, Iranian policy makers are well aware of the international experiences of failed urban development. In order to give Parand City its own character and avoid the fate of other less successful satellite city models, cultural centers and universities are being positioned in the area. With its two universities, Azad and Payam Nour, the city in many ways could be considered as a university town, if it weren't for the presence of the airport and industrial areas nearby.

Phases 4 and 5 of Parand City, which are currently under construction, will include mass housing projects in line with the government's target of reducing Tehran's population through the development of nearby urban conglomerations. To support this target, the government increased its budget for infrastructure development by 60% in 1389 (2010-11). These mass housing projects are being created under the nationwide Mehr Housing Scheme. Under this scheme, 1 million residential houses will be built for lower income members of society, 110,000 of which will be built in Parand City. This makes the city one of the centers of this important government initiative. The government has looked abroad to find the right constructors to complete the project, and contractors from Turkey, South Korea, and Malaysia have been involved. The completion of these houses is expected to increase the population of the city to 390,000 in 2012 and 700,000 by 2025.

Parand City, as a new and promising urban center, also offers many opportunities for foreign investors. Saeed Sabouni explains that investors would find it comfortable to invest in Parand City because there is only one public agency they need to deal with, which is Parand New Development. As the infrastructure and housing is under its responsibility, the company aims to attract investors to commercial undertakings such as shopping malls and hospitals. Mr. Sabouni thinks that there is a huge opportunity to build an international class hospital in Parand City in order to take advantage of its location close to the main international airport to promote medical tourism.