Document Type : Research Paper
PhD Candidate of Geography and Urban Planning, University of Tabriz, Iran
Associate Professor of Geography and Urban Planning Department, University of Tabriz, Iran
Professor of Geography and Urban Planning Department, University of Tabriz, Iran
It is increasingly recognized that the information revolution has far-reaching economic and societal impacts. At all levels, governments are relentlessly searching for strategies to respond to the new realities. In the last few years, an increasingly popular strategy has been to speed up the adoption of ICTs (information and communication technologies) by citizens and companies the view being that higher levels of ICT adoption can contribute substantially to sustainable social and economic development.
However, the diffusion of ICTs drives access to information and knowledge: the inequality of distribution of ICTs within or between societies may have a very unequal impact on economic development which is so-called digital divide. The digital divide has become an extremely important issue for many international organizations and a major challenge for policymakers and academic researchers.
Narrowing the digital divide is a key for increasing the level of literacy, employment and development in any country and community. This paper is concentrated on assessing the impact of digital divide indicators on urban sustainable development in Tabriz city of Iran. City of Tabriz with the population near to 2 million people duo to the being selected as the tourism capital of Islamic world in 2018 is selected as the case study.
According to objective of the research and identifying the impact of some variables on the whole system, Fuzzy Linguistic Micmac method is selected due to exploring direct or indirect effects.
In the current study, we uses new methodology derived from MODO named FL Micmac. It is intended to uncover the most related variables in a system by employing a linguistic version model of the Cross Impact Analysis method by creating a scenario. According to Porter in 1985, a scenario is an internally stable perspective of what future is similar to be - not a foretaste, but a feasible future consequence. A definition is given by, that emphasizes on this fact that views reflected by scenarios can be served as a foundation in decision making at the present time. To get such consistent definitions, other methods are required to supply an apparent understanding of the systems we tend to evaluate, which are typically complicated and formed by many interdependent factors or components. This technique is Fuzzy linguistic Micmac which is presented first time in urban studies to indicate the outcome of the impact analysis of the integrated system including both digital divide and urban sustainable development variables.
The first step for this new model is to determine the set of linguistic labels (defined by fuzzy triangular numbers for example) that will be used to establish the degree of influence of one variable on another. Secondly, the experts use these linguistic labels to set the influence degrees for each pair of variables. Then, from the superior and inferior ideals (the ideal cases in which all the non-null influences degrees defined by the experts are set to the higher and lower label, respectively) a new set of linguistic label is defined for the global influences and dependences. We should note that these labels provide information in absolute terms.
To establish the linguistic label that corresponds to each variable, an aggregation operator is applied. The information obtained from this operator allows ordering and plotting the variables in an analogous way to MICMAC. This information together with the linguistic labels associated to each variable permits to analyze the results from a relative and absolute point of view.
Results and Discussion
However, as we explain next, FLMICMAC provides more accurate rankings since it takes into account the underlying vagueness of the aggregated experts’ judgments. Let us focus on the five top ranked variables in terms of direct or indirect influence/dependence:
1. Direct Inf: Literacy, disability and physical capabilities, restrictions imposed by the government, age, local facilities.
2. Direct Dep: English language skill, literacy, geographical location, economic opportunities, and educational opportunities.
3. Indirect Inf: Literacy, restrictions imposed by government, disability and physical capabilities, age, local facilities.
4. Indirect Dep: English language skill, literacy, economic opportunities, geographical location, educational opportunities.
As it is apparent, some variables of digital divide have much direct/indirect influence/dependence on the global system.
The digital divide can never be contained in isolation but the efforts have to be multi-dimensional and multi-pronged. ICTs are of the enabling tools to bridge digital divide. Creation of ICT infrastructure and content are core methodologies and a thrust to technology growth in a planned manner will certainly lessen the gap. While digital divide is an issue of recent concern, technology divide has been an issue for much longer. There are two approaches to enable a wider population to benefit from technology and information revolutions; one is to enhance level of literacy (basic, functional technology and computer education amongst masses) which this issue became the most effective factor in the current research and another is to design appropriate IT tools around the capabilities of users that employs audio/visual input/output, without need to be literate; low cost telephony and data communication.
By exact consideration on the obtained results and evaluation of them, it could be concluded the investing on both education and e-infrastructure particularly in low income settlements besides empowering the economic condition of people can change the digital divide to digital opportunity and move the urban community of Tabriz toward high quality of life and ultimately sustainable development. This paper is only a first step, in that we have analyzed the impact and effectiveness of the digital divide. Further research is needed to develop successful strategies to lead Iran cities into the digital opportunities which may result knowledge-based urban development.
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