History of the State Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture
Azerbaijan has ancient settlements and a rich construction history distinguished by centuries-long urban planning culture. During the Soviet period, this activity was under the special focus of the state which encouraged construction of new cities, and a new era in urban planning in the 1970s led to the rapid development of the capital Baku.
The adequate urban-planning policy pursued by the Nationwide Leader Heydar Aliyev, who was well-known for his devotion to the art of architecture, guaranteed economic stability in the country not only during that period of his rule but also in the period of independence when the great leader returned to power. The construction sector started to revive, Baku, and other cities gained their industrial potential, and the social infrastructure issue was addressed.
Today, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, a dignified successor of the effective policy, keeps urban planning and architecture under his constant attention. The urban planning process is further encouraged by dozens of world-class buildings constructed in Baku, decisions to establish a large-scale transport infrastructure that is the cornerstone of urban planning, engineering solutions for the city, construction of new cultural, social, administrative buildings and public offices, malls and other public facilities in the cities and regions along with the capital city. Among top priorities, special attention is paid to housing construction to ensure citizens' comfort.
The State Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture was established on the basis of the State Committee for Construction and Architecture, which had existed since 1993. The Committee was established by the Order of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev dated February 28, 2006, to improve state governance framework in the country. "Azerdovlet sanayelayiha" State Design Institute and the Non-Institutional State Head Examinational Department (Dovlatbashekspertiza) that performed construction functions of the abolished State Committee on Construction and Architecture of the Republic of Azerbaijan were transferred to the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Thus, according to the Decree of the Head of the State dated November 9, 2007, the State Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture transformed into a central executive body that conducts a unified government policy and regulation in urban planning, zoning, architecture, and related design.
During these years, the Committee was involved in a unified urban development policy-making and continues to implement the policy, develop the zoning planning documents, exercise government supervision over compliance with these documents and perform regulatory activities in the relevant area. It also ensures the preservation of sensitive urban planning and national architectural traditions (heritage), identified by the country's leadership, and effective use of their territories together with the relevant local authorities taking into account the natural and local context of cities and their historically established communities. The Committee's activities include maintaining the urban-planning cadastre in accordance with the national legislation, ensuring the improvement of architectural planning solutions for buildings, installations, and facilities, overseeing their development in accordance with urban planning and construction standards and other areas defined in the legislation. In particular, the development of a regulatory framework plays a vital role in the Committee's activities.
As part of the ongoing reforms guided by the Country's Leadership in recent years, urban planning and construction sector was also in the spotlight, and significant changes occurred in this direction. The Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On Additional Measures to Improve Governance in Urban Planning" dated August 1, 2018, expanded scope of activities of the Committee, and moved the General Directorate of Baku Chief Executive's Office to the State Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture. Thus, the Committee expanded its authority to issue permits for construction and operation of facilities (except for the cases when permits are issued by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the State Agency for Housing Construction of the Republic of Azerbaijan).
In addition, Territorial Construction and Planning Center established with the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated March 19, 2019, was included in the Committee's structure according to the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 276 dated June 18, 2019. Also, three other organizations were transferred to the State Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture - Baku State Design Institute, Senior State Design Institute "Azermemarlayihe," Azerbaijan Scientific Research Institute for Construction and Architecture.
It should be noted that the Territorial Construction Planning Center, which provides services in the area of urban planning and architecture and participates in the government policy-making efforts, is established as the public legal entity on the basis of the Special Design Budgeting Bureau and Urban Planning Office and reports to the Baku General Directorate for Urban Planning and Architecture.
Today, pursuant to its charter and the instructions from the country's leadership, the State Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture takes efforts to achieve sustainable urban development of the country’s cities to make them internationally competitive in terms of urban planning and architecture.