Identification and Assessment of the Spatial Extent of Urban Poverty in Yazd City

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Prof. of Geography and Urban Planning, University of Yazd, Yazd, Iran

2 Ph.D. Candidate in Geography & Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

3 Ph.D. Candidate in Geography & Urban Planning, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Urban environments are complex systems with complex phenomena, multiple interactions and relationships between the components. Poverty is also a complex phenomenon that requires a multifaceted approach due to harmful effects (Paraschiv, 2012: 226). However, one of the important issues in the field of urban studies is the "spatial distribution of poverty”. With establishment and development of the poverty, old textures, inefficient textures, informal settlements, and marginalization of poor immigrants are faced with acute problems in unemployment, dependency, violence and insecurity, and so on.
After the Islamic Revolution in Iran, although several attempts have been conducted to combat poverty and to promote social welfare, but in the recent years the high inflation and uneven distribution of resources and income, particularly in urban areas has caused that poverty become as the most important social - economic problems. Due to the importance of poverty, the government is obligated under the law in Article 95 of the Fourth Development Plan to have the Comprehensive plans for poverty reduction and social justice ​​and also is required to execute that.
Yazd is one of the large cities of Iran, during different periods in the imposed war and in the recent years, rural migration from influx of immigrants is not safe, following the decline and lack of services and reduction in the social, economic and quality of life indices. Therefore, there is no choice but to tackle the problem of poverty as the agent of imbalance in the city. Accordingly, the extent of poverty is considered as a necessity in addition to religious and human values to planning development with social justice approach and sustainable development. This research has been conducted for more detailed identification of the spatial extent of poverty in the Yazd city. It is also attempting to provide solutions and planning principles to select the next deliberate steps, This study particularly try to reduce the short-term decisions and unprofessional actions with opening a new window in issue of urban poverty as well as to provide the background for policy makers, planners and urban managers to reduce the problems associated with poverty and deprivation in urban areas. Hence, this research seeks to answer two main questions:

What are dimensions, variables and indicators of urban poverty in Yazd city?
How is status of the spatial distribution of poverty in Yazd city?

This research is applied - development with descriptive – analytic method. After explaining the concept of poverty and urban poverty using library evidence, indicators of the method have been prepared using census data of 2006 that were provided by the Statistical Center of Iran. The opinions of the experts have also been employed to assess the indicators. These indicators have been calculated in Excel and ArcGIS applications with attribute tables in three main economic, social, and physical criteria and fifteen indicators. These indicators are including burden dependent, rates of employment to education, literacy level, burden population, proportion of young population, average family members, general activities, economic participation of women, and burden of the actual dependents, employment rates, unemployment rates, population density in family unit, per capita and density residential, with matrix of
15 × 39. Using the VIKOR method as a multi-criteria decision-making, city’s quarter have been ranked. Weight of each index is calculated using Shannon Entropy models. After ranking of the city quarter, the map of poverty spatial distribution in the city of Yazd is plotted based on the above indices.
Results and Discussion
After calculating the weights of Shannon Entropy models, the maximum weight is allocated to burden dependent, general activities rates, employment rates, burden population and the minimum weight is population density in family unit. This can be said that economic and social variables are proportionally higher.
With calculation of the desirable and undesirable indexes and values of VIKOR, eventually, city’s quarter with fifteen indices are classified. Based on the results of this research 5 quarters are in very poor condition, 8 quarters in poor condition, 11 quarters in the middle condition, 15 quarters in comfortable condition, and 2 quarters in the upper status positions.
The results of this study indicate that some factors affect the poverty. In these factors economic variables (including employment rates, unemployment rates, general activities rates, economic participation of women, burden the actual dependents, and burden dependents) and social variables (including ratio of young population, average family members, employment to education rates, literacy rate, and burden population) has a greater effect on the poverty situation and physical variables (include population density in family unit, per capita and density residential) have less impact on the situation.
To summarize the results this can be said that 12.2% of the quarters in the city of Yazd are very poor, 19.5% poor, 26.8% moderate, 36.6% rich and only 4.9% are too rich. Analysis on the spatial distribution of poverty shows that in old quarters, especially historical textures, as well as in informal settlement quarters are the people are poorer than other areas. The spatial distribution of poverty indicates poor conditions of rural areas nest to the cities that are in bad condition in 3-1-4 (Eysh Abad) and 3-1-5 (Kheyr Abad). It is noteworthy that in these quarters, most residents are immigrants, while they have lower social - economic status that may decline these indices values. Results of this study are consistent with the results of the studies about informal settlements by the Organization of Ways and Urban Design of Yazd province. Based on the results of this study, the following suggestions for removal of the obstacles and problems can be proposed:

Wider public education, especially among city’s authorities about the issue of poverty and poor quarters.
Solving original causes of migrations to the informal settlement quarters.
Job creation should be given higher priority in poor quarters.
Formation of a working group or forum of municipal authorities, housing and urbanism and other related agencies to solve the problems of poor quarters.
Establishment of social security for poor quarters in order to prevent illegal activities.

Participation of citizens in their affairs is very important, citizen participation and trust and encouraging policies to solve the problem of urban poverty as an absolute necessity.


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