This report concluded that settlement along the Chahar-Bagh historical boulevard would be negligible, as would the impact of the subway construction on the groundwater regime in the project area. It also concluded that other environmental disturbances such as creation of noise, dust, vibration, air pollution, surface and underground utilities breakdown and traffic jam creation along the proposed metro line could be mitigated by the use of a specific tunnelling method - the Earth Pressure Balance (EPB) Shield made by the TBM Company. The disturbances would be restricted to the station site and to the shaft needed to launch the shield.
The 2010 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS monitoring mission found that 90% of the construction work had been completed at the time of the mission. The mission was informed that during the excavation, ground settlements were observed at five sites. Unfortunately, no monitoring was performed on the ground and on the foundation of the Chahar-Bagh School and the Si-o-se Pol Bridge. The team made a visual inspection of specific ground locations adjacent to the School and the Bridge, and found no cracks or physical deformations. Some cracking was noted in the exterior recessed panels of the front wall of the School but it was not clear when these occurred. The mission, recognizing that this area falls outside of the inscribed property but within an area which has been considered for possible extension by the World Heritage Committee, makes recommendations for ongoing monitoring. It also indicated that further development of the metro line system (Metro Line 2) is envisaged.
Nomination of the Historic Axis of Esfahan (Chahar-Bagh)
The State Party report notes that work on the nomination is proceeding and that it is considering carefully the possible impacts of the metro line on the historic buildings and sites within the zone of the historic axis and the remedies if any that should be considered in the execution. The mission was informed that the authorities intended to nominate the extension within 3 years. However it is the mission’s view that unless clear planning and control regulations are in place and strictly respected, there is no guarantee that the Outstanding Universal Value of the proposed extension will be properly protected. The State Party continues to approve development projects with the potential to affect the cultural and historic significance of Esfahan, yet there are still no established mechanisms for undertaking systematic cultural, social, environmental impact assessments prior to designing large scale
development projects close to World Heritage property.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies concur with the conclusions of the 2010 World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS joint monitoring mission as regards the lack of vision for the management of Esfahan as a whole and its surrounding historic fabric. Decisions appear to be made in reaction to development applications, and there is some discord amongst various stakeholder groups. As the mission concluded, there needs to be a carefully considered and managed balance between urban development and heritage protection. In view of the proposed extension of the property to include the Historic Axis of Esfahan, a strategically coordinated long term vision for the protection and management of Esfahan as a historic city needs to be developed to ensure, in turn, a values-based approach to the protection and management of the World Heritage property. Because the overall development pressure on the property is so strong, regional cooperation between all government and religious bodies with an interest in the World Heritage property is essential.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend that the World Heritage Committee requests that the State Party develop a management plan for the current World Heritage property including its proposed extension, and the historic city as an encompassing buffer zone. This should be developed in consultation with all stakeholders, and should define a strategic vision and establish the needed coordinating processes. The Management Plan should consider the transport needs of the city, traffic management and parking provision, tourism management, housing and other infrastructure needs as well as the conservation of the historic fabric. It should set height limits in defined areas, and indicate
State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List
WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add, p. 124