Document Type : Original Article
Shahid Beheshti University
Purpose- The main purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of improving the dimensions of social capital in the spatial evolution of rural settlements in Esfandagheh.
Design/methodology/approach- This study is a quantitative survey conducted using questionnaires distributed among 400 households in 30 sample villages. Descriptive-analytical measures such as mean, variance, standard deviation, Kendall Tau-b correlation coefficient, and multiple regression were used to analyze social capital's status in the spatial evolution of rural settlements in the study area.
Findings- The findings revealed that the six dimensions of social capital, including social awareness, social organizations and groups, social networks and relations, social participation, social cohesion, and social trust have a positive and significant relationship with the dimensions of the spatial evolution of rural settlements. Moreover, there is a positive and significant relationship between social capital and spatial development dimensions in the studied villages' four environmental-ecological, social, economic, and physical-infrastructural dimensions. Also, social awareness, social participation, social cohesion, social trust, social networks and relations, and social organizations and groups with a variance of 0.433% were explained as predictors of spatial changes in the Esfandagheh rural district.
Research limitations/implications- The variable of social capital plays an essential role in the spatial transformation of rural settlements because improving the dimensions of spatial transformation regardless of the dimensions of social capital faces a crucial challenge. In other words, social capital is influential in various areas of life, from the local and micro-level to the national and macro-level; it can empower the villagers in dealing with the socio-economic problems of their village.
Practical implications- Paying attention to the dimensions of social capital in terms of approaches and planning and policy-making system of rural development and subsequently emphasizing the status of social capital as one of the most important intangible assets to improve the spatial evolution of rural settlements.
Originality/Value- This study investigated the effects of all dimensions of social capital on all four dimensions of geographical space. In such a way, the attention of policymakers and development planners to the outcome of this research provides a more effective planning ground for developing the rural space based on people's views and the conditions of each region.