Measuring the Sustainability of Rural Areas Using Analytical Network Process (ANP), Case-study: Rural Areas of Fasa County



Extended Abstract
As pervasive as the term may be in our discourse, “sustainability” is far from having a clear,
distinct, or wholly accepted meaning in contemporary development circles (preto, 1996).
“Sustainability” is increasingly cited as an explicit goal of development efforts and remains a
widely-touted global concern in spite of the fact that it is an inherently “complex and contested
concept … [For which] precise and absolute definitions … are impossible”. The foundations of
international development were laid after the end of World War II with the goals of alleviating
poverty, reducing inequality, and improving the global standards of living. In 1987, the UNmandated
World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brandt land Commission)
responded to an emerging recognition that the human economy was stressing global ecosystems.
The Commission affirmed the importance of which “extend to all the opportunity to fulfill their
aspirations for a better life.” At the same time, it emphasized that this development must be
“within the bounds of the ecologically possible,” They called for sustainable development “that
meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs”.
An action plan for sustainable development, called Agenda21, was launched in 1992 at Rios
Earth Summit (World Summit on Environment and development Goals, adopted in 2000, called
on all countries to integrate the principle of sustainable development into national policies and
These indicators must not only reflect the changes in quality of life, but must also show if
these changes are compatible with the current plans in ecological limits. While a precise and
complete definition of sustainability may be elusive, it is possible to define measurable bottomline
conditions for both human developments (Social, Economic) and ecological sustainability.
While specific context, goals and methods of any program will vary widely (and so will the
criteria for evaluation), we can fundamentally compare any sustainable development diminution
based upon criteria that describe the type of approach taken. We examine and measure
sustainable development in terms of its three dimensions: environmental, social, and
Decisions leading to sustainable development ought to be based on science and adequate
information. Thus, data are needed on environmental, social, and economical factors of
Recently, Analytical Network Process has been proposed as a systematic tool for the
assessment of sustainability. Based on this approach, we have developed a model called
sustainability assessment through Analytical Network Process (ANP) evaluation, which uses
basic indicators of environmental, economic and social as inputs, and employs ANP to provide
sustainability measuring on the local rural Fasa county, Fars province.
This paper provides an approach to sustainable decision- making on local level using ANP
model. In this research, the index of each dimension of sustainability has been used by
measuring of rural areas. For this aim, the hypothesis is that there is a meaningful relationship
among sustainability dimensions (social, economic, ecological aspects).The methodology of this
article is descriptive-analytic using Borda technique on 250 family and 46 villages in Fasa
county. For this purpose, after calculating the weights using Borda method, the differences are
stated by sustainability dimensions of rural areas.
Results and Discussion
The design and development of sustainable development approaches is dependent upon
identification and development of an appropriate information infrastructure to support decisionmaking.
The findings of this research show that because of the relationship among indexes and
criteria in different dimensions for measuring, exact sustainability is needed for the groups and
different sustainability dimensions. They should be paid attention to independently and there
should be polls to hear the experts’ recommendations. The collective decision-making
employing Borda method, compression questionnaires and compounding the data in the ANP
model improve their efficiency in comparison with the other methods.