عنوان مقاله [English]
Good local government is the closest, most realistic, and popular example of good governance, in which the participation of the people is confirmed, the supervision is objective and tangible, and it forms the culture of democracy and good governance at the national level. However, strong local government and solid local democracy are necessary for each other. In our country, limited plans and programs have been considered to achieve proper governance of the city, and one of its components is institutional participation and decentralization. The Islamic Council of Tehran approved the plan of the neighborhood council and its implementation to attract the maximum participation of citizens in the administration of urban affairs. After that, Tehran Municipality implemented the neighborhood management plan to complete and strengthen the neighborhood council association, decentralization, and promote neighborhood-based management. However, after several years of approval and implementation of this plan, there has been no positive feedback in line with governance. In the present study, while identifying the most critical challenges and problems of this project from the perspective of good governance, the essential strategies to improve the performance of neighborhood management are presented.
Materials and Methods
The approach of this research is descriptive-analytical and applied in terms of purpose and is a method of collecting documentary and survey information. The data collection tool was both survey and documentary in such a way that the documentary data were used for conducting background studies and theoretical foundations. Survey data and questionnaire tools were used to obtain the findings and perform the analysis. It should be noted that the questionnaire was closed and in the form of a Likert scale. The study’s statistical population was selected based on purposive non-probabilistic sampling, including 40 councilors and district managers with expertise and experience. Data analysis in this research was done in two stages. In the first stage, the subject was studied, and the second stage was done through surveys, interviews, and questionnaires, by which the research indicators and its proposed solutions were questioned. In the analysis section, using the SWOT analysis method in terms of importance and weighting of experts in the form of analytical matrices, the performance of neighborhood management is evaluated with emphasis on Tehran city councils, and solutions are presented.
The research findings also indicate that the council of potential neighborhoods is the center of proper communication between citizens and city managers. However, councils have many dysfunctions and have not been able to be as effective as they should be. The survey results show that the neighborhood residents have little knowledge of the council’s activities. Also, the councilors acknowledge the ignorance of the residents about their activities. They believe this is because their position is not properly defined, and on the other hand, they have a weak relationship with the municipal institution. The uniformity of urban management at the neighborhood level is also remarkable. There is no difference between the management of densely populated and sparsely populated neighborhoods in Tehran, while the appointment of neighborhood managers is another shortcoming in this regard. According to the sixth principle of the Iranian constitution, the country’s affairs must be governed by popular vote and through elections. They capture and manage the affairs of the country. Given the existence of local councils in the constitution, it should be said that the duties and powers of the councils are advisory, and councilors do not interfere directly in the affairs of districts and urban areas. In contrast, good local community governance requires people to interfere in matters related to themselves and their community. With participation, firm ground for citizens is provided.
Neighborhood management in the true sense depends on people’s intervention, their participation in the management of neighborhood affairs, and the creation of an intra-local self-government system with the necessary authority and power to bargain, make decisions and oversee local affairs. This perception is in the form of the Einstein model (ladder of citizenship participation), the expansion of citizenship power, which is reflected in decisions related to the distribution of resources. In this view, the goal of neighborhood management is to decentralize power (distribute decision-making power to be closer to the people). Neighborhood management means local community development. This perception is more of the councilors’ view of the issue and is focused on developing the neighborhood and solving its problems in various areas of planning and implementation. Neighborhood management means managing neighborhood services, manifested in the form of neighborhood houses. In this view, the goal is to decentralize the responsibility of distributing and managing services rather than decentralizing power. The goal is also to hand over costly and unnecessary matters in the areas of administration and services to the people, which in no way means increasing their citizenship power. This perception is mainly related to the municipality’s middle managers regarding the neighborhood’s management. However, what currently exists in the municipality of Tehran as neighborhood management which is guided by the concept of organizing social participation in the neighborhoods of Tehran, has more capacity than the concept of “neighborhood service management”(Services to be provided by the municipality in the neighborhoods). The conceptual problem stems from the fact that senior municipal managers have articulated the meaning of local government in a process that is, at its best, the service manager at the neighborhood level. However, studies show that neighborhood management in the current situation, focusing on neighborhood housing, is like “neighborhood service management”.