Document Type : Research Paper
Assistant Prof., Dep. of Geography and Urban Planning, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran
M.A. in Urban & Regional Planning, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran
The study of the quality of life in urban areas has been considered extensively in recent years.
Among them, the informal settlements (marginalization)- as the major problems of modern
metropolitan regions that are expected to have low level facilities, welfare, accessibility, and
thus low standards of living- have attracted the attention of the authors. Therefore, two informal
settlements, Islamabad in north of Tehran and Salehabad in south of Tehran have been selected
as the research topic.
In this regard, the research questions are as follow: “Are there any differences between the
quality of life in Salehabad and Islamabad?” and “what is the main factor affecting the quality
of life in these two informal settlements?” Research hypotheses are: First: It seems that
satisfactory levels of quality of life in Islamabad and Salehabad are significantly different.
Second, it seems that economic components are the most important factors affecting the quality
of life in informal settlements.
The term “quality of life” has no clear origin. Although quality of life is attractive and has a
general sense, it doesn’t have a universally accepted definition. Whatever phrase used, the
quality of life of a person is dependent on objective and external facts of his or her life and his
subjective perceptions of these factors and himself (Lotfi, 2009, 65). Fu (2000) defines “quality
of life” as the person’s overall satisfaction with his life. Das (2008) defines “quality of life” as
people’s social welfare and their living environment. Quality of urban life has two main
approaches: Objective approach and Subjective approach (Lee 2008). In this paper we have
dealt with the subjective approach to assess quality of life.
The most important qualities of life in Islamabad interpreted by using factor analysis are
these 6 factors: satisfaction with public facilities (factor 1), satisfaction with the quality of the
physical environment (factor 2), the welfare status (factor 3), water and air quality and traffic
(factor 4), the security situation in the neighborhood (factor 5), and economic status (factor 6).
Each factor contains cases of related variables that are referred to in relevant tables in the text.
Multiple-Regression Analysis can be used to identify the contribution of each domain in quality
of life and the creation of causal model which shows the interaction between domains and
reagents. One of the aims of this study is to establish a causal model by identifying the
dominant domains effective in the quality of life in Islamabad. The main question in creating
this model is: “Which domains of life have the most causal effect on the quality of life in the
area under the study?” The answer to this question can be effective in the perception of the
causal influence of the domains and also in designing effective programs to improve the quality
of urban life in the region.
Causal relationship between the domains of life and the satisfaction with life in Islamabad can
be stated as following:
1) QoL = 0.485 × F3 + 0.462 × F4 + 0.082 × F5 + 0.072 × F6 + 0.043 × F2 − 0.026 × F1
F1: satisfaction with public facilities; F2: satisfaction with the quality of the physical
environment; F3: the welfare status; F4: water and air quality and traffic; F5: local security
situation; and F6: economic status.
The total variance of the quality of life explained by this model is 46%. The research shows
that life domains identified in this study have a direct impact on the quality of life. It was
determined that the domain with the strongest causal effect is the third factor that is the welfare
status. The next domain is the fourth factor that is the quality of water, air and traffic.
Satisfaction of public facilities and economic situation are the domains which have the weakest
causal impacts on the quality of life.
The most important dimensions of the quality of life in Salehabad interpreted by using factor
analysis are these six factors: Satisfaction with leisure and environmental facilities (factor 1),
satisfaction with economic and security (factor 2), satisfaction with public facilities and Welfare
(factor 3), satisfaction with physical environment condition (factor 4), garbage collection and
disposal and sewage (factor 5), traffic and health (factor 6). Causal relationship between the
domains of life and satisfaction with the quality of life in Salehabad is:
2) QoL = 0.446 × F2 + 0.399 × F4 + 0.236 × F5 + 0.190 × F6 − 0.024 × F1 − 0.019 × F3
F1: Satisfaction with leisure and environmental facilities; F2: satisfaction with economic and
security; F3: satisfaction with public facilities and Welfare; F4: satisfaction with physical
environment condition; F5: garbage collection and disposal and sewage; and F6: traffic and
Results and Discussion
The total variance of the quality of life explained by this model is 45%. The results show that
the domain with the strongest causal effect on the quality of life in Salehabad, is the second
factor that is the economic satisfaction and security. The domains of the first and third factor,
the satisfaction of leisure and environmental facilities and welfare, have the weakest causal
effect on the quality of life.
Therefore, in the studies conducted in the two settlements of Islamabad and Salehabad it was
found that there are differences between the two habitats regarding most indicators of the
quality of life. Descriptive findings of the survey show that regarding most indicators,
Islamabad has a more favorable condition than Salehabad. In the analysis and comparison of the
mean of individual variables in the two settlements, it was found that in these 26 proposed
indicators, the mean of the responses in Islamabad is higher than Salehabad. However, only in 6
indicators the average satisfaction in Salahabad is higher than Islamabad.
Based on the output of the T-test, comparing the mean of the responses on individual items, and
according to the descriptive findings, the first research hypothesis indicating that the quality of
life satisfaction among the inhabitants of the two regions has a significant difference, will be
The results of the factor analysis and regression analysis indicate that in each settlement the
most important predictors of the quality of life are different. This suggests that the quality of life
varies according to locations.
Thus, according to the research findings the second hypothesis in Salehabad is also proven,
but it is rejected in the urban area of Islamabad.
Thus, we can say that informal settlements are problematic and need to be empowered.
Because experience has shown that this is the best strategy. In order to empower the settlements,
identifying and assessing their quality of life will be very effective.