Prioritization of Rural Development Strategies by Sustainable Development Approach (Case Study: Villages in the Northwest of Isfahan Province)

Document Type : علمی


University of Isfahan


Extended abstract
The northwest region of Isfahan province is one of the geographical centers of Iran indicating the need for creation of an economic resource as an agricultural complement due to its significant features similar to those of the dry areas. As an example of rural unsustainability due to various natural and human factors, this region has problems including the relative deprivation of the rural districts in this region despite the high environmental potential, climate fluctuations and especially severe drought in recent years, and its negative consequences in economic and social structure of the region, the young structure of the region and the lack of productive employment platforms for them, and finally, the degradation of the villagers' life quality. Therefore, the present study was conducted to answer the question of what the optimal rural development strategies are in the northwest of Isfahan province in order to identify the best development strategy for sustainable development and facilitate sustainable rural development planning in the regions by the prioritization of other strategies.
Rural development strategies and models are classified into three general groups: technocratic, reformist, and radical. Each of these groups has numerous approaches and strategies. In this regard, sustainable development approach can be considered as a development process which is economically dynamic and productive, environmentally non-destructive, socially fair and acceptable, and technologically appropriate and desirable. Nowadays, paying attention to sustainable rural development is imperative in many plans. Five prerequisites for the success of sustainable rural development are as follows: a) Process attitude to education, b) Prioritizing people, c) Security, law, and protection of individuals' rights and their resources, d) Sustainability through self-esteem & e) Actualizing talents, commitment, and its continuity in administrators.
In the present study, Delphi technique was used to determine the sustainable development strategies consistent with the features of the northwest region of Isfahan province. A total of 30 panelists were thus selected based on their expertise and according to specific circumstances by purposive judgmental sampling. At this stage, top 10 strategies were selected from 18. Experts' views and Delphi technique were utilized to determine the criteria and sub-criteria. Therefore, indices for the optimal sustainable development strategy in the northwest villages of Isfahan province were put into the following four groups in three rounds: economic (6 sub-criteria), social (5 sub-criteria), physical-spatial (4 sub-criteria), and environmental (4 sub-criteria) groups. Pairwise comparison was used to measure the relative importance of all criteria and sub-criteria. Finally, based on the mentioned indices of this research (18 indices), the 10 proposed strategies were ranked using Promethee method.
In this research, 19 indices were studied and classified into the four groups of economic, social, physical-spatial, and environmental. Paired comparison was used to measure the relative importance of all criteria and sub-criteria. Among the main criteria, environmental criterion had the highest value with a weight of 0.276, but social criterion had the lowest value with a weight of 0.219.
Each of the studied sub-criteria also had a number of sub-criteria which should be compared and evaluated in pairs according to the desired criterion. According to the experts' pairwise comparison of sub-criteria by AHP technique, the sub-criterion of plan implementation cost had the highest value with a weight of 0.198, but the sub-criterion of short to long term income ratio had the lowest value among the sub-criteria of this group. In pairwise comparisons, "social", "expansion", and "the creation of new jobs" sub-criteria had the highest values with a weight of 0.270, but "females' economic roles" sub-criterion had the lowest value with a weight of 0.119. According to the pairwise comparisons of the physical-spatial sub-criteria, "facilities and infrastructural equipment" sub-criterion had the highest value with a weight of 0.280, but "impressibility by extent" had the lowest value with a weight of 0.221. Finally, the pairwise comparisons of the environmental sub-criteria indicated that "adaptation to regional potential" had the highest value with a weight of 0.310.
Measuring the weights and the importance of all indices (by analytic hierarchy process (AHP), collecting data, and using normal preference function, we first calculated positive and negative flows, then obtained the net flow, and finally, ranked the strategies. Based on calculations by Promethee technique, first, the tourism development planning strategy with a net flow of 0.76, and after that, the popular partnership strategy with a net flow of 0.65 were found to be the best strategies.
According to the conducted studies in the present research, the indices namely "the rate of changes in the natural environment", "facilities and infrastructural equipment", and also "adaptation to regional potential" had the highest importance in the studied area. On the other hand, based on these indices and according to the experts' selected strategies, tourism development planning and public participation strategies were put in top ranks in the selection of the most optimal rural development strategy. Therefore, attention to the tourism principle and the provision of its development infrastructures is the best development strategy in the studied region. In addition, the utilization of the locals' participation can ensure sustainable rural development. Tourism can be very effective due to the proper infrastructure and potential of tourism (including climatic diversity, cultural and ancient heritage, and pristine nature) in the rural regions of northwest Isfahan province in addition to the climatic conditions and drought, which have caused a lot of problems for the regional agriculture especially during the recent decade as farmers need to compensate for problems caused by drought and improve their economic situation. In fact, the tourism development strategy is in line with regional conditions and it can accelerate regional sustainable development in the case that it is taken into account.


1. AItieri, M.A., & Masera, O. (1993). Sustainable rural development in Latin America: building from the bottom-up. journal of Ecological Economics, (7) 93-121.
2. Aslanlou, A. (1386/2007). Sustainable rural development with an emphasis on agriculture sector (Case study: Karasf Rural District of Khodabandeh County). Unpublished master’s thesis, Payame Noor university of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. [In Persian]
3. Butler, R.; Hall, C. M., & Jenkins, J. (1998). Tourism and recreation in rural areas. New York: John Wiley publications.
4. Figueira, J., de Smet, I., & Brans, J. P. (2004). MCDA methods for sorting and clustering problems: PROMETHEE TRI and PROMETHEE CLUSTER. Universite Libre de Bruxelles. Service de Mathematiques de la Gestion. ‏
5. Gobattoni,F. , Pelorosso,R, , Leone,A., Ripa,M. N. (2015). Sustainable rural development: The role of traditional activities in Central Italy.Land Use Policy, (48), 412–427.
6. Griffith, K., & James, G. (1368/1989). Transition to fair development, Economic policies for structural change in third world countries (M. R. Rafati, Trans.). Tehran: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, institute for Political and International Studies. [In Persian]
7. Hafeznia, M.R. (1393/2014). An introduction to research method in human sciences. Tehran: SAMT publications. [In Persian]
8. Hwang ,J.H.,& Lee, S.W. (2014). The effect of the rural tourism policy on non-farm income in South Korea. Tourism Management. (46), 501–513.
9. Javan, J., Alavizadeh, A.M., & Kermani, M. (1390/2011). Role of diversification of economic activities in sustainable rural development, Case study: Semirom County. Geography, 9(29), 17-43. [In Persian]
10. Kahrom, A. (1375/1996). National strategy framework of environment and sustainable development in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Tehran: Environmental Protection Agency. [In Persian]
11. Keshavarzi, S. (1393/2014). Impact of sustainable agriculture on sustainable rural development (Case study: Ziyari district of Nurabad in Mamsani County), Unpublished master’s thesis. University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran. [In Persian]
12. Khatoun Abadi, S.A. (1384/2005). Some aspects of sustainable development (from thought to action) (1th ed.). Isfahan: Jihad Esfahan University Publications. [In Persian]
13. Kheirkhah-Arani, R. (1386/2007). Sustainable rural development in mountainous regions (Case study: Qamsar district of Kashan), Unpublished master’s thesis. University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran. [In Persian]
14. Knaap, G. J., & Chakraborty, A. (2007). Comprehensive planning for sustainable rural development. Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, 37(1), 18-20.
15. Moldan, B., & Bilharz, S. (1381/2002). Sustainable development indices, (H. Tehrani, & N. Moharramnejad, Trans.). Tehran: Environmental Protection Agency press. [In Persian]
16. Noori, K., Zand, F. (2013). The Role of Rural Tourism in Rural Sustainable Development According to the SWOT Method (Case Study: Kermanshah Province villages). International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences, 4(9), 465-483.
17. Padar Yamchi, S. (1384/2005). Sustainable rural development. Jahad scientific, economic, social journal, 25(268), 70-85. [In Persian]
18. Papoli Yazdi, M.H., & Ebrahimi, M.A. (1386/2007). Rural development theories. Tehran: SAMT Publications. [In Persian]
19. Pašakarnis, G., & Maliene, V. (2010). Towards sustainable rural development in Central and Eastern Europe: Applying land consolidation. Land Use Policy, 27(2), 545-549. ‏
20. Rezvani, M.R (1383/2004). Introduction to rural development planning in Iran. Tehran: Ghoomes publication. [In Persian]
21. Sadeghi, M.A. (1384/2005). Role of agricultural land integration in rural development and provision of corrective solutions using the GIS (case study: Sedeh village of Kashan), Unpublished master’s thesis. Tarbiat Moaalem (Kharazmi) University, Tehran. [In Persian]
22. Soltani-Arabshahi, M. (1383/2004). Development management (management discipline). Tehran: Ostadi publications. [In Persian]
23. Taherkhani, M. (1379/2000). Industrialization of village. Tehran: Ministry of Agriculture Jihad. [In Persian]
24. Taleshi, M. (1383/2004). Sustainability of small mountainous settlements (Case study: Aladagh district in the north of Khorasan). Unpublished PhD’s thesis. Tarbiat Moaalem (Kharazmi) University, Tehran. [In Persian]
25. Wahab, S., & Pigram, J. (1997). Sustainable Tourism in a Changing world,tourism, Development and growth; The Challenge of Sustainability. London: Routledge publication.
26. World Bank. (1384/2005). Rural development strategy; new approach of the World Bank. Tehran: Institute for agricultural economics and planning research. [In Persian]
27. Zasada, I., & Piorr, A. (2015). The role of local framework conditions for the adoption of rural development policy: An example of diversification, tourism development and village renewal in Brandenburg, Germany. Ecological indicators, 59, 82-93.