عنوان مقاله [English]
Identification of Effective Criteria on Social and Economic Sustainability in Rural Areas of Iran
*Vahid Bigdeli Rad – Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Qazvin Branch, Islamic Azad University, Qazvin, Iran
*Corresponding Author’s Email: Vahid.Bigdeli@qiau.ac.ir
Shahram Maleki – PhD Student of Urban and Regional Planning, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, International Campus, Tabriz, Iran
Rural settlements in Iran, which are officially reported to have regional inequalities and settlements, are today experiencing a number of problems, such as the decline of the rural economy, massive displacement and migrations, widespread poverty and unemployment, food insecurity, and being the most of the rural population in the margin (Ashrafi et al., 2015, 51). Hence, these problems point to the necessity and priority of attention to social and economic stability in sustainable rural development planning (Karimi and Ahmadvand, 2015, 685). In order to achieve this goal, recognizing the instability and the level of social and economic stability of rural settlements is necessary first and foremost (Tavakoli et al., 2015, 231).
Information analysis method in this research is based on the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). AHP is one of the most well-known multi-criteria decision-making techniques that was invented by Thomas L. Saaty in the 1970s. This approach can be useful when decision-making practice has several options and decision-making indicators. Indices can be quantitative or qualitative (Azizi and Khalili, 2010, 33). The basis of this method lies in the pairwise comparisons (Delbari and Davoudi, 2013, 62-63). To apply the Analytic Hierarchy Process in solving the evaluation problem, there are five basic stages: (1) the formation of a hierarchy, (2) the determination of the importance coefficient of the criteria and sub-criteria, (3) the determination of the importance coefficient of options, (4) the determination of the final score (options priority), (5) the examination of adaptation in judgments (Azizi and Khalili, 2010, 33).
Results and Discussion
Indicators were identified and categorized to evaluate the impact of social and economic sustainability. These indicators were collected based on the opinion of rural development and planning experts in Iran.
Accordingly, 10 sub-criteria including security, safety, education, social involvement, population, health, leisure, social responsibility, service satisfaction and place belonging as a measure of the impact of social sustainability, and 10 sub-criteria including unemployment rate, agricultural insurance, market access, fluctuations in prices, dependency ratio, mechanization, average income, per capita livestock, economic diversification and investment for economic sustainability in rural areas of Iran were also identified. Then, a questionnaire was designed based on the collected criteria. Then, 20 questionnaires were collected by the opinion of specialists and experts in rural development and planning.
In the first step, the relative weight of the criteria is calculated. Different methods are used to calculate the relative weight. In this study, the geometric mean method was used.
After performing geometric mean, the weight of each of the criteria and sub-criteria is normalized and the impact of each one will be determined based on the final weight. Accordingly, the economic and social sustainability criteria were calculated with normalized weight of 0.515 and weight 0.485 respectively.
In connection with the importance of each of the social and economic sub-criteria, it is clear that training sub-criterion is ranked first in the importance of social criteria and has the greatest impact on the social sustainability of rural areas. Leisure sub-criterion has the least impact on this ranking. Moreover, in the economic indicators section, the unemployment rate was ranked first. The sub-criterion per capita livestock in this ranking also has the least impact on the economic sustainability of rural settlements. The overall ranking of social and economic criteria is shown in below Table.
Table: The Importance of Social and Economic Sustainability Sub-Criteria in Rural Areas of Iran
Ranking Social Sustainability Sub-Criteria Economic Sustainability Sub-Criteria
1 Education Unemployment Rate
2 Service Satisfaction Average Income
3 Place Belonging Agricultural Insurance
4 Security Market Access
5 Safety Economic Diversification
6 Health Investment
7 Population Fluctuations in Prices
8 Social Involvement Dependency Ratio
9 Responsibility Mechanization
10 Leisure Per Capita Livestock
Considering that the rural areas in Iran, according to the statistics of official centers and scientific studies on it, always have many social and economic problems, so this research seeks to identify and evaluate the impact of each of the components of social and economic sustainability. These two criteria have been largely been overshadowed by environmental sustainability components and have been less considered independently. These two dimensions play an essential role in the instability of rural settlements in the country. Therefore, this research sought to assess and measure the impact of social and economic sustainability by some criteria. Accordingly, these criteria were identified by reviewing the authentic internal and external sources and the hierarchical analysis method. In this way, 10 indicators of security, safety, education, social involvement, population, health, leisure, social responsibility, service satisfaction and place belonging are considered as components of social sustainability and 10 indicators of unemployment rate, agricultural insurance, market access, fluctuations in prices, dependency ratio, mechanization, average income, per capita livestock, economic diversification and investment are considered as components of economic sustainability in rural areas of Iran. The results of the evaluation based on Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) show that, according to rural planning experts, the impact of social and economic components on the sustainability of rural settlements is of the same degree and are not significantly different in terms of importance. In the ranking of the effect of components of social sustainability, the sub-criteria of education has the most impact and the criterion of unemployment rate is the most effective component in the economic sustainability of rural settlements in the country. In general, the results show that both social and economic sustainability criteria should be definitely considered in rural settlements in parallel.
Keywords: Village, Sustainable Rural Development, Social Sustainability, Economic Sustainability.