There is no doubt, as many studies show, that low income housing policies have changed into one of the most imperative challenges in the cities of Iran. The present paper intends to explore that one of the main reasons for such a challenge is the dominance of traditional urban planning paradigm based on the Master Plan concept known as the Blueprint in Iran's urban planning. Therefore, the present research has been carried out mainly raising this hypothesis that the low income housing policies in Iran, emphasizing on the city of Rasht as dominant metropolis in the northern region, has failed researching its goals due to the nature of approaches influenced by traditional urban planning. Study of the current urban planning in Iran indicates that such a trend follows mainly the rational planning in the wake of Master Plan. Accordingly not only the physical dimensions of the cities are preferred to social dimensions, but due to their nature, most of the benefits of city plans and projects go to the higher income groups. In the meanwhile, based on Pareto Optimum and Game theories and the nature of traditional urban planning in Iran, the magnitude of benefiting from city plans is related directly to the income levels of the citizens. As a result, a great range of the benefits from governmental supportive policies as subsidies go to the higher income groups while being aimed at covering low income groups of the citizens. On the other hand, the Blueprint paradigm planning has intensified this trend and the maximum benefits have oriented toward non-aimed groups of housing policies and the low income groups have not only been driven to the periphery of the policies, but also practically, they have ended up informal settlements.
In this study, we have applied Cochran formula choosing a statistical sample size of 330 households out of 900 residential units, 5 of which including acquisition condition (some form of rent) of residential complexes, and finally using questionnaires covering 23 characteristics of their residents.
Results and Discussion
Statistical reviews of the present trend of housing policies of Iran verify big challenges and controversies. On the basis of the global standards, the mean proportion of housing price indexes to the annual total income of households should be 3-5 times and the housing rents might be 15-20 % of the monthly income. However, in the metropolis of Rasht this index has reached to 8 and the rate of house rents has increased by 30 %. It is nearly a decade that City Development Strategy (CDS) approach, aiming to reduce urban poverty and improve the residential conditions of low income groups of the city has commenced by the Cities Alliance, World Bank and UN Habitat. According to the successful experiments of CDS in about 300 cities around the world, especially in the Third World countries, one can claim that CDS approach directly faces the daily routines and challenges of the citizens such as residential improving, with their contribution, regardless of inflexible Master and Detailed Plans. Such a policy emphasizes on the implementation and action of the plans and believes that for the citizens of the Third World, the future is now. Plans pertaining to CDS can be compiled and executed in less than a year due to their executive natures, and their results show themselves on city levels, especially in the realm of urban squatter settlements. This is because CDS both utilizes public participation and supplies much of the required facilities such as labor force, management and building materials from local resources. Today many urban theoreticians, using these experiences, try to extend the subject that how and with what equipments such an approach and policy can make positive changes in the lives of normal citizens including the provision of housing for low income groups of the society and the improvement of their settlements. This paper studies the role of CDS approach in low income housing policies with emphasize on metropolis of Rasht. The review of the results of some of the most important characteristics, such as the position and prices of the houses, loan repay, family size, occupation, settling duration, educational level, home selection criteria and transportation costs, all indicate the fact that most of the residents of such case study houses belong to middle or middle-up income groups.
Therefore, based on the findings of this research, we can claim that although the main aim of housing in these areas is provision of residential units for low income groups of the people in the city of Rasht, most residents of these houses are middle or middle-up income groups. The present article attempts to analyze the challenges in housing policies for the urban poor in Iran with emphasis on the city of Rasht. As a conclusion, the hypothesis of this research has been proved, because according to the paper’s findings low income housing policies in Iran have failed. The present paper pays attention to CDS important approach in housing policies and offers how to lead to the present conclusion and some recommendations.