Investigation on the Relationship between Social Capital and Satisfaction with Quality of Life in Urban Spaces (Case Study: Region Number 9, Tehran Municipality)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor of Geography, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

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

3 M.A. in Geography and Urban Planning, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


With development of urbanization, some problems gradually emerged in the field. In the past few decades, the city crises have been widened. With the development of the urban life crisis is appeared in various aspects including environmental, social, physical, and economic. Special awareness shows environmental problems and declining environmental quality in cities and residential neighborhoods. In recent years, social capital has become very common issue that has attracted the attention of many scholars and even politicians. The quality of life reflects the level of welfare of the people, over the past decade as one of the main goals of community development and guiding policy in many countries.
Social capital is basically a product or a public asset that everyone can benefit from. Many researchers believe that social capital is an important resource for people and can have a huge impact on the performance and the quality of people life. Some researchers argue that social capital is not only interesting in important business issues, but also there are interesting and important reasons for learning how to develop and use for the social capital. The studies published in the fields of medicine and psychology show that there is a direct relation between social capital and quality, purpose and meaning of life. Another issue that in recent years has concerned the planners is the quality of life of citizens. Quality of life encompasses both quantitative and qualitative aspects, such as distribution of material and the distribution of goods and services, and mental aspects of quality of life, such as social relationships, life satisfaction, participation and sense of social solidarity, and spiritual needs of all people.
In this study, the role of social capital is investigated as one of the most important factors on citizen quality of life. District number 9 as one of the 22 districts of Tehran municipality, has unique conditions both in terms of quality of life and social capital; because both physical and environmental quality of the area is not in a good condition and also in terms of social capital is not in a desirable situation. This is because this region is the host of immigrants. Hence, this region due to high immigrant has different ethnic groups that have imbalanced the conditions in terms of quality of life and social capital.
The population of the study area is the residents in the 9th region of Tehran and two quarters of this region, Dastgheib and Hooshyar. Total population of these two districts is 35,851 people at the 2006 Census. Thus, according to Cochran formula, 380 questionnaires were considered for the study field. But, in order to increase accuracy and reduce error, 400 questionnaires were distributed in the neighborhood.
Quality of life indicators in this research includes quality of residential units, quality of traffic and transportation, quality of leisure facilities, mental aspects of quality of life, quality of access to the business facilities, quality of satisfaction with health care facilities, satisfaction with quality of administrative facilities, quality of education facilities, quality of social and cultural facilities, quality of municipal facilities, quality of health status, quality of safety and security, and quality of the neighborhood relations. The social capital indicators are personal trust, impersonal trust, social cohesion and social participation.
The questionnaires were distributed in the neighborhood; the obtained data were analyzed by SPSS software. According to the assessment questions and items, Pearson correlation is used for statistical analysis. Also, the multiple regression analysis is used to determine the role of each of the indicators of social capital (independent variable) on changes in quality of life indicators (dependent variables).
Results and Discussion
The highest quality of life is related to the quality of access to commercial facilities. After the quality of commercial facilities, quality of social and cultural facilities is more appropriate. The lowest mean is related to health-related quality due to high levels of deteriorated fabrics.
Four indices are used to measure the social capital. Among the four investigated indices, personal trust has the highest mean and social cohesion has the lowest mean. A high level of self trust indicates that the trust is very highonly among the family members. The range of trust to other members of community is too low. Also, low level of social cohesion is a sign of a non-homogeneous of population in terms of respondents. Analytical results of the study show that there is a significant correlation between four indices of social capital and satisfaction of quality of life. It means that with increase in levels of social capital the people satisfaction with quality of life will be increased. Also, after the combination of the four indices of social capital, in the general case the relationship between social capital and satisfaction is assessed with quality of life. In a general case, there is a positive correlation between social capital and satisfaction with quality of life. The multivariate regression analysis shows that the regression model consisting of 4 independent variables and a dependent variable in the study is a good model. The set of independent variables are able to explain the change of the dependent variable (satisfaction with quality of life).
The results indicate that there is a direct and significant correlation between social capital and satisfaction of people with their quality of life in this study. In other words, with increase in levels of social capital the quality of life will also be increased. According to the research results, we can say that the social capital can be used as an important element to analyze citizen satisfaction with quality of life in urban regions. Hence, it is essential to make efforts to increase the level of citizen social capital. In this way, we can increase the satisfaction of quality of life as the main goal of most urban development programs.


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