The subject of participation in development plans and urban development and in specific in the renovation and improvement of historical and inefficient urban fabrics has been brought to fore in recent years along with the discursive turn in the theoretical and practical topics. In the last three decades has been utilized public participation in different ways and at different stages of planning and implementation of projects. These pieces of experience provided a lot of feedbacks and consequences and its practical results are shown. In this study the experience of participatory renovation and improvement was investigated in four neighborhoods of Tehran and in a facilitating office (Daftar e Tashilgari) and besides strengths and weaknesses of each of them were analyzed in order to provide solutions for increasing participation. To this end, the main hypothesis of the study was that if in the participatory experience the structures and functions interact properly with each other and has a synergistic partnership; it will lead to a more efficient participation and will accelerate renovation and improvement of the fabric. Therefore, the issue has been investigated using documentary and field methods. In documentary studies, urban landscape design plans, subjective and local plans and other relevant laws and documents as well as the subject and manner of participation were analyzed. To conduct the field studies with questionnaire tool residents in neighborhoods under study were surveyed. To triangulize the data a group of residents, managers and planners of projects were also interviewed.
The results showed that the participation of people with different goals and approaches was taken in to consideration in the recent years. In some of these plans individuals and residents were considered as active participants in undertaking the project and in others through creation of institutions and legal and institutional structures such as facilitating offices or public intuitions it was tried to institutionalize the participation of people in the development and renovation of the neighborhood. Analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of these pieces of experience within the framework of the theoretical model revealed that the interaction between structures and agents in plans significantly contributed to the increase of the participation. With the fading of one of these dimensions, participation changed into instrumental or organizational participation and into the top-down. The results of the survey from residents in neighborhoods suggest that the principal components affecting the success of the cooperative model are different of those regarded by experts. In other words, people consider greater contribution for government institutions and experts and executives regard the important role of people as well. This difference of opinion is rooted in distrust and viewing affairs as governmental among the people. The results of analysis also confirmed this point. Such that in the Cyrus neighborhood in which local residents (activists) stood beside institutional and administrative agents and there was a mutual interaction between them; we can see a more successful participation. While in the 13th AbanKoi neighborhood in which the structures were undeveloped and neighborhood residents didn’t believe in administrative and organizational agents (i.e. there was an atmosphere of distrust), participation was much lower than other neighborhoods.