Urban Sprawl, Annexation of Village to City, and Analysis of Effects and Outcomes from the Viewpoints of Residents (Case Study: Villages Annexed to Shiraz Metropolis)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor of Geography and Urban Planning, Shiraz University

2 Associate Professor of Geography and Rural Planning, Shiraz University, Iran


Rapid urbanization referring to the rapid population growth living in urban areas is an attribute of many developing countries. This phenomenon has occurred in some metropolises of Iran, e.g. Tehran, Mashad, Isfahan, Shiraz and Tabriz. Expansion of urban spaces, corrosion of villages and their peripheral lands are outcomes of rapid urbanization. If urbanization process accompanied by urban expansion is not managed properly, it would lead to urban sprawl, pollution, environmental discount, and unsustainable production and consumption patterns. Besides, unorganized expansion of cities has several spatial outcomes on peripheral villages, e.g. land use and land coverage changes in common territory of villages. Physical expansion of settlements toward each other usually leads to annexation of smaller settlements (village) to larger settlements (city). 
The outcomes of annexation of villages to cities may have positive or negative effects. Some positive outcomes include improvement of physical infrastructures, development of urban services and increment of constructions. Changes in agricultural lands, conversion of production work forces into consumers, rise of expectations, and promotion of consuming and increment of life costs are examples of negative outcomes. When some villages are joined to a city, these villages would consequently be part of that city; but in many cases, we can see obvious differences between joined villages and main city in respect of social, cultural, economic and environmental attributes. In the way of urban sprawl, the cities impose main changes and evolutions on peripheral areas. In fact, new spatial interactions between those two different areas necessitate these changes. This is a process experienced in many developing countries including Iran. 
Shiraz, an Iranian metropolis, experienced considerable physical expansion in recent years. The physical area of the city is increased from 3540 hectare in 1976 to 24000 hectare in 2011. During this period of time, population is increased from 425813 to 1460665. In other words, during 1976-2011, urban population is increased 3.43 times and its area 6.78 times; this condition is a sign of notable acceleration of urban physical development in comparison with population increment. In the way of expansion of city toward peripheral lands, adjacent rural areas would gradually annex to the urban areas. As mentioned before, annexation of the villages to city has various outcomes in social, economic, cultural and physical dimensions. Given the importance of the issues, this paper investigated the effects and outcomes of annexation of rural settlements to Shiraz city area. 
In this paper, we have investigated the effects of annexation of some rural settlements to Shiraz metropolis in economic, socio-cultural and environmental-physical dimensions, from the residents’ viewpoints. We have collected the required data through library studies and questionnaire. Research population is the head of households in 12 villages joined to city. Sample size based on Cochran method was 315. The data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistical methods. We initially studied demographic evolutions and changes in urban area over the period of 1976-2011 and, then, analyzed the data extracted from filled questionnaires using statistical methods.
The questionnaire included 43 questions about various effects and outcomes of annexation of rural settlements to Shiraz city. This study emphasize on economic, socio-cultural and environmental-physical dimensions for which we have 11, 18 and 14 criteria, respectively. Some of these criteria are related to positive effects and some other negative. Analysis of the data were carried out using some statistical tests including Chi-squared test, Wilcoxon, Friedman test, Pearson correlation coefficient, Spearman's rank correlation coefficient, and Phi-Cramer’s V.
Results and discussion
Analysis of economic effects of the annexation showed that from the viewpoint of respondents, negative economic effects of annexation of studied villages to Shiraz city are relatively more than positive ones. Hence, the mean value of all economic criteria is over the mean value except the criterion of job stability. We assessed socio-cultural effects via 18 criteria; mean value of all these criteria are over test mean. Evaluation of environmental-physical effects of annexation (via 14 criteria) showed that among these criteria only mean value of “officials’ attention to the physical condition” is lower than default mean value. In socio-cultural dimension, as the economic dimension, negative effects of annexation are relatively more than positive effects. 
The results showed that there are significant differences between socio-cultural and environmental-physical dimensions, and there is no significant difference between economic and environmental-physical dimensions. Results also revealed that the negative effects of the annexation of villages to Shiraz city are relatively more than positive ones in economic and socio-cultural dimensions from the respondents’ viewpoints. Other results showed that among personal variables including gender, age, job, literacy and habitation duration, the relation of satisfactory was significant with all variables except gender. Correlation coefficient of ‘satisfaction’ with two criteria of age and habitation duration is negative, i.e., those respondents who lived for longer time in annexed villages, declared less satisfaction. It seems that from the viewpoint of old residents of annexed areas, gradual changes happened in patterns of life and activity and relationships system may be a threat for sustained social attachments and place identity.  
It can be concluded that according to respondents in respect of economic and socio-cultural dimensions, negative effects of annexation of studied villages to Shiraz city is relatively more than positive effects. About environmental-physical dimension, there isn’t significant difference between positive and negative effects. However, there is significant difference between the effects of the three dimensions of economic, socio-cultural and environmental-physical. It is noteworthy that the results of this paper cannot be generalizable to all other cities encountered with this issue without accurate investigation and case studies, because of different conditions of various urban areas.


Main Subjects

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