Investigating the livability of cities for urban social stability (Case study: the Mashhad metropolis)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Farhangian University, Tehran, Iran.

2 PhD student in Geography and Urban Planning, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. Mashhad. Farhangian University Trainee

3 Department of Geography and Urban Planning, Zabol University, Zabol, Iran.



Today’s, cities have known as the main place of work for much of the human race. Consequently, the urban population is growing, based on which it is estimated that by 2030, more than 60% of the world's population will live in cities (Akande, 2019: 476). Indeed, rapid urbanization places cities at a central position so that they may adapt to global emergencies (Huovila, 2019 : 141). In this matter, it has led to conducting the city planners to a new frontier: creating sustainable cities through development of human capital, the standard attractions of sustainable living, and new concerns for the planet, (Sodiq, 2019: 972). livability is the main concept associated with many other concepts and terms such as quality of life, suitability, and quality of place, and healthy communities (Norris & Pittman, 2000: 12 & Blassingame, 1998: 13). As such, to control and reduce such threats posed by urbanization, the best practices for sustainable urban development need to be recognized, supported, and enhanced (Klantari, 2019: 471). Thus, we can identify and then evaluate the effective practices on social issues in society through determining the dimensions of the social stability (Nastaran et al., 2013: 155). In Iran, the Mashhad metropolis is one of those cities that have been known as a burst of population growth over the past few decades, in which it is the second most populous metropolitan district of Iran after Tehran. which has caused many economic, social and cultural challenges in the city. Meanwhile, in the current situation, a significant part of the population and district of Mashhad are its suburbs, which comprises 42 neighborhoods via a population of 804,000 and a district of over 6354 hectares. In other words, 33 percent of the population and 22 percent of Mashhad, in which if we consider the city as an integrated system, the marginalized districts are the critical parts of the system that a lack of attention to it would affect its social, economic life, and its health system. Now, the current research intends to explore the urban livability, as an effective criterion to establish the social stability of cities as well as to investigate the above mentioned challenges. This paper attempts to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the status of both urban livability and social stability criteria at 13 metropolitan districts of Mashhad.


The research method is conducted as descriptive-analytical while the purpose is application. The required data and information were gathered using a questionnaire (such as documentary studies, articles, etc.). Here, to specify the social stability criteria of urban livability, some relevant resources and documents were studied and finally, the most frequently criteria were extracted in other related researches. As such, 15 criteria were chosen for the social stability (Table 1) and four criteria for urban livability (i.e. economic, social, environmental, and physical) and for each of these four criteria, five sub- criteria were chosen for the constructing items (20 sub- criteria in total) (table 2). In the second step, the designed questionnaires were properly distributed among the residents of 13 districts of Mashhad and then the questionnaire was distributed evenly based on the population of each urban district (Table 3). The sample size was 384 citizens based on Cochran formulas residing in 13 districts. The simple random sampling was also employed to choose the sample. Ultimately, the gathered data were then analyzed by utilizing SPSS, EXCEL and GIS software.


As illustrated in Table 6, F values confirm that predicting social stability is significant for all proposed criteria. In the first step, the environmental variable was entered into the equation. Its results showed that this variable could predict about 0.164% of social stability. In the second step, by entering the physical variable R 2, it reached 0.223. By considering the economic variable in the third step, R2 was 0.285 and finally with the introduction of social variable, R2 increased to 0.318. This can be concluded that the livability criteria (such as economic, social, environmental, physical) with each other could account for 0.31% of the variables of social stability at Mashhad. Furthermore, the regression coefficients for the variables revealed that the physical coefficients were calculated to 0.228, the environmental coefficients were 0.226, economic variables were obtained as 0.224, and finally, the social variables were measured as 0.40. These beta coefficients are the predictors of social stability for each of the mentioned variables.

Thus, the computational results of the regression test confirm urban livability gas a direct impact on the social stability in 13 metropolitan districts of Mashhad. That is, no matter how desirable the criteria of urban livability are, it has a positive impact on the social stability of urban districts of Mashhad and vice versa. It should be mentioned that, with regard the results of T-tests, the results of the regression test are both rational and scientifically justified. The impact of livability criteria on the social stability criteria is clear.


In the final conclusion, it can be said that in the spatial (geographical) distribution of livability index, the existence of most desirable areas in the northern part and areas with moderate to low livability status in the southern and southwestern part of Mashhad metropolis. Also, the spatial distribution of social sustainability indicators is such that; Zones nine, ten, eight and eleven have the highest level of social stability and regions four, six and seven have the lowest level of social stability. It is noteworthy that the relationship between urban viability index and social sustainability index in urban areas of Mashhad and this issue has been confirmed in the form of research maps and diagrams. Thus, most areas with a high average coefficient of urban livability in the field of social sustainability index have a favorable situation, and of course the opposite has been confirmed.


Main Subjects

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Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 23 July 2023
  • Receive Date: 03 November 2021
  • Revise Date: 05 October 2022
  • Accept Date: 12 October 2022