Document Type : Articles extracted from Thesis
Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, University of Guilan, Guilan, Iran
Master of Urban Planning, Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Art and Architecture, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran
Global epidemics are the biggest threat to cities' social and economic life, given the history of epidemics in human societies, such as the coronavirus (Covid-19), spread throughout China since late 2019. These pandemics disrupt the ordinary course of life in the city and cripple municipal service delivery systems. Few would have thought that in the 21st century, the size and spread of the coronavirus could cause such a crisis in the world's cities. The city administration, which has never encountered such a rapid pandemic in history, has been fragile in the first place in the face of the disease. However, over time, they could find a way to deal with the disease. Gilan province, especially Rasht city, was one of Iran's first spots of coronavirus outbreak. In this study, we seek to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies adopted by urban management against coronavirus to find a way to use these experiences to prevent such crises.
The present study is descriptive-quantitative, and collected information through observation, survey, and documentary studies. By studying the theoretical concepts and reviewing the research background, eight criteria and 53 indicators were extracted, including the role of municipalities, the role of citizens, management and executive, treatment-healthcare, cleanliness - hygiene, economic, educational-cultural, transportation, and public space. The research questionnaire was designed based on these indicators with Likert scale questions. Three hundred ninety-one questionnaires were distributed and completed online among residents and citizens of Rasht. The obtained data were entered into SPSS software, and for data analysis, the mean, one-sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, and Friedman test were used. Then the research is modeled and analyzed using Smart PLS3 software.
Results and discussion
Due to the significance level less than 0.05 (0.000) of this study, the test result is significant for the research criteria, and the ranking of indicators effectively deals with the coronavirus outbreak crisis. The remarkable result is the average of the research criteria that are lower than the mid-level (3). However, the criterion of the role of municipalities with an average of 2.90 has the highest value. This issue shows the weakness of the urban management of Rasht in the fight against coronavirus in all areas. Results of the Friedman test show a significant difference among the criteria. The main criteria are municipalities, transportation and public space, and citizens' role, respectively. Also, after analyzing the structural model in Smart PLS3 software, the path coefficient leading to the hidden criterion of "cleanliness - hygiene" has a robust effect (0.949). It means that the hygiene-hygienic criterion strongly affects the effectiveness of urban management strategies. Economic and therapeutic-care criteria have the most substantial effect with path coefficients of 0.916 and 0.910, respectively.
The coefficient of determination for the hygiene-hygienic criterion is 0.9, which indicates the accuracy in the model of the criterion. Economic and treatment-healthcare criteria have coefficients of determination of 0.839 and 0.827, respectively, and are in the following ranks of this ranking. A noteworthy point in this ranking is the cleanliness and health of the people that the urban management should focus on this issue and, after solving this issue, pay attention to the economy and livelihood of the people. The mean extracted variance (AVE) for the research criteria, which should be a number higher than 0.5, is desirable and acceptable for all criteria except the criteria of the role of municipalities and the role of citizens. The mean-variance extracted for the two criteria of the role of municipalities and the role of citizens, which are 0.322 and 0.355, respectively, are lower than the desired level and are unacceptable.
Among the indicators of this study, the economic index "Assistance to vendors affected by the Corona crisis" with a coefficient of 0.957 has the highest overlapping. In the next rank among economic indicators, the index "Support for working children" with a coefficient of 0.952 has the highest overlapping. Also, the economic index "Identifying and providing gratuitous assistance to vulnerable groups in cooperation with charities and non-governmental organizations" with a coefficient of 0.929 has the subsequent highest overlapping. This ranking states that the economic issue is always the most crucial subject in people's lives, and if the Rasht Municipality and the Rasht authorities focus on this agenda, their efforts for compensating of the damages of this pandemic would be more fruitful. Also, among the treatment-healthcare indicators, the index of "accommodation and care and, if necessary, quarantine of homeless people in built-up spaces (like temporary spaces)" with a coefficient of 0.923 has the highest overlapping.
Finally, considering the value of GOF (0.767) based on the outputs of Smart PLS3 software, it is concluded that the designed model of the present study has a strong fit.
Rasht urban management agencies can protect the lives of the people in this period by focusing on sanitation and public health, which has been one of the primary duties of municipalities according to Article 55 of the Municipal Law. The resilience of cities against the destructive social, economic, health impacts of this pandemic is mainly dependent on the initiatives of the urban authorities to provide alternative solutions to continue urban life. This study's results can help reform intervention policies in this field by identifying key issues and classifying and prioritizing them.