Assessing the Impacts of Implementing a Guidance Plan in Rural Sustainable Development (Case Study: Kandovan Village, East Azerbaijan Province)

Document Type : علمی


1 Mohaghegh Ardebili University

2 University of Tarbiat Modares

3 University of Mohaghegh Ardebili


Extended abstract
Despite the implementation of various construction and development projects at a local level, the majority of rural settlements in Iran are faced with several environmental, physical, social, cultural, and financial challenges through an unstable process; this is due to the domination of partial attitude as well as the absences of a systemic approach in the rural development planning system of Iran. Given the presence of distinct human and environmental conditions and capabilities along with the implementation of guidance plan, the historic and tourist village of Kandovan is faced with a number of different problems and inadequacies in the physical domain which have affected other dimensions of development. The present study aims at assessing the impacts of implementing a guidance plan in the sustainable condition of Kandovan historic village. Despite the studies conducted on the examination of effects and performance of rural guidance plans in Iran, paying attention to analysis and assessment of performance regarding the implementation of guidance plan in the physical sustainability and unsustainability of Kandovan village within the framework of sustainable physical development indices is one of the most significant features that demonstrate the scientific authenticity and value of the present study.
In order to elaborate on the topic of the study, it is attempted to investigate theoretical subjects including the systemic approach, rural sustainable development (physical) and its most important indices (within the framework of systemic approach) as well as rural guidance plan. The systematic view and mindset along with the systemic doctrine is one of the acceptable schools in most scientific fields according to which, examinations and analyses in this regard are carried out. Rural sustainable development involves the management and conservation of the existing natural resources and orientation of technical and institutional changes in a way that achieving human needs and constant provision of such requirements are guaranteed for the residents of cities and villages, both in the present and future. Such a development would protect the sustainability of land and water resources as well as the genetic resources of plants and animals; moreover, it would not lead to environmental decay and it is convenient, viable and acceptable in terms of technical, economic and social aspects, respectively. To this end, rural guidance plans is the first systematized and comprehensive national attempt for the physical organization of villages in Iran; since 1988, the plan has been provided for more than 20000 villages and implemented in over 8000 villages. In fact, a rural guidance plan that is implemented and involves a physical aspect can be considered as one of the most important management tools of rural development in Iran.
The present study was conducted through a descriptive-analytical method and data collection was carried out using documents and field work. To estimate the sample size based on Cochran’s formula, 310 samples were indicated and the same number of household questionnaires were distributed and completed. In order to test and perform a statistical analysis regarding the success rate of guidance plan in the physical sustainability/unsustainability of the village being studied, one-sample t-test was used.
The occurrence of various challenges confirm the functional weakness of the guidance plan in the village being studied which demonstrate the unsustainable process of development; in terms of environmental-ecological aspects, these challenges include not using native architecture patterns in new constructions, inappropriate landscape condition of rural houses and construction patterns, small usage of indigenous material in the construction pattern of the houses, failure to follow conventional patterns to preserve the physical identity of the village in new constructions, reduced confrontation factors of risks and natural disasters (earthquakes and floods) in the village through the implementation of the guidance plan, improper condition of physical development in the village, poor conditions of roads in the village, incompatibility of a number of applications, non-compliance of new houses concerning the future development of the village, absence of a waste collection system and landfill in the village, lack of attention toward the aesthetics of environment in the village, and inattention of the guidance plan implementation to the preservation of natural and cultural heritage such as gardens, landscapes, and valuable textures of the village. Considering the social and institutional dimensions, these challenges involve high rate of sending immigrants, low participation of people in actions and activities related to the village and low awareness level of the public. Finally, in terms of the economic aspects, the challenges include low support of guidance plan implementation aimed at the sustainability of local economic activities, unemployment, and low welfare level of the public.
The results of the study show that overall, the extent of satisfaction toward the implementation of guidance plan in various indicators related to the three ecological, social-institutional, and economic indices are at a level below average; consequently, it can be acknowledged that in spite of the attempts and endeavors taken place, provision and implementation of rural guidance plan has been unable to mitigate the inadequacies and provide a physical sustainability of the environmental system under investigation (Kandovan village), due to the domination of partial attitude and absence of a systemic and comprehensive approach. To eliminate or reduce the physical inadequacies of the village case study, a set of recommendations are presented in the following, within the systemic approach and physical sustainable development framework: With respect to the elimination of physical inadequacies of the village, it is necessary to provide principled actions and plans so that it would result in the physical improvement of the village as well as the continuity of its identity; furthermore, providing legal and institutional capacities in order to facilitate and increase public participation in the physical development process of rural regions (which can improve the capacity of rural population retention) is essential.


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