Measurement Social Stability and its Spatial Distribution in Rural Areas (Case Study: Barzak District of Kashan County)

Document Type : علمی


University of Isfahan


Extended abstract
Currently, the discussions on social sustainability have exceeded the previous focus on the outgo of population from rural residences. In fact, social sustainability covers all the social dimensions and needs of the rural population, such as access to educational facilities, healthcare facilities, high access to cultural and arts resources, and other facilities which are necessary for the social life of modern man. Generally, achieving social sustainability in rural regions through improving its constituent indices and components as well as the factors affecting it, provides the ground for promoting the social capacities of villagers. This sustainability would enable the rural community to optimally use natural, social and economic resources in line with the goals of sustainable development.
2. Theoretical Framework
In general, social sustainability refers to the move towards a context in which all society members could fulfill their basic needs (e.g. reaching a reasonable level of peace, having a meaningful and purposeful life, living with passion, having access to equal and fair opportunities in education and healthcare for everyone). In order for social sustainability to become an ultimate objective, it has to be defined in a clear, controllable, recognizable and assessable manner. To this end, it seems vital to outline the major indices of social sustainability. The main indices for assessing social sustainability are as follows: dynamicity of population, empowerment, social unity and solidarity, social health and security, quality of employment and income, education, quality of services, housing and environment, quality of access to information, social participation, quality of national-institutional structures, optimism towards the future, satisfaction with the place of living and place belongingness, divorce and crime rates, equality, capability for adaptability, coexistence, social responsibility, being hopeful towards the future, feeling of happiness, extroversion and social interaction, social trust, fear of the spread of social anomalies, feeling of deprivation, satisfaction with the performance of social institutions, satisfaction with access to services, feeling happy, participation in cultural and recreational activities, participation in religious activities, participation in local activities, interpersonal trust, civil or institutional trust, and social justice.
This study is functional in nature and descriptive-analytical in its purpose. The main purpose is to assess social sustainability and its spatial distribution in the rural regions of Iran, focusing on Barzak District of Kashan city, Iran. The population of this study covers all the householders in 11 villages with more than 20 households in Barzak District (N=2452). Due to the large size of the population and the time and financial limitations of the researchers, it was not possible to include all the householders in the study. Therefore, using Cochran’s sample size technique, 240 subjects were selected. In order to distribute the questionnaires in the villages under study, stratified sampling technique was employed. Considering the number of householders in each village, a number of questionnaires were prepared and then randomly distributed among the householders.
Overall, six variables had a significant correlation with the dependent variable of the study, namely household (negative correlation), income level, distance from police station (negative correlation), access to essential vehicles, job, and access to internet. It has to be mentioned that except two cases (household and distance from police station) which had a negative correlation with the dependent variable, the other independent variables were all positively correlated with the social sustainability of villagers in Barzak District, Kashan, Iran. In order to promote social sustainability among the villagers investigated in this study, special attention has to be focused on the constituting components of the indices with undesirable status:
1. Job satisfaction index (diversifying job opportunities, allocating special credits and facilities for villagers in order to promote their job satisfaction, increasing wages and supporting the productions of villagers)
2. Satisfaction with access to services (developing and strengthening educational, healthcare, fundamental and communicational services)
3. Satisfaction with the trustee institutions (more attention on the part of trustees of rural issues, including councils, housing foundations, agricultural organization, etc. to the requirements and needs of villagers)
One of the main reasons for the difference of social sustainability among different villages of the area under study is the differences in enjoying the indices of social sustainability, including social interaction, being hopeful towards the future, security, job satisfaction, satisfaction with access to services, etc. Investigation of social sustainability in the villages of Barzak District indicated that the southern and northern parts of this district enjoyed a higher-than-average level of social sustainability. On the contrary, the eastern, central, and western parts of this district had an average and less-than-average social sustainability index. These differences may be attributed to variations in social sustainability indices and the independent variables related to social sustainability.
The results of this study indicated that the mean value of social sustainability index among the villagers of Barzak District in Kashan was 3.24, which is higher than the basic value of 3. Therefore, it is considered to be higher than average. The results of investigating the prioritization of social sustainability indices in the area under study indicated that social interaction, being hopeful towards the future, responsibility, social anomalies and security had the highest impact on social sustainability.
Also, the conditions of social sustainability in the villages of Barzak District indicated a significant difference among the villages under study with regards to social sustainability. In other words, there is a gap and inequality among the villages of this district in terms of the social sustainability index.


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