Identifying the Future Components of Urban Livability with a Future Studies Approach Case Study: Mahabad city

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student in Geography and Urban Planning, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Urban Planning, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

3 Assistant Professor Department of Geography and Urban Planning, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran

4 Assistant Professor Department of Geography and Urban Planning, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran



Extended Abstract
Livability is one of the recent topics and theories in urban planning which similar to other new theories such as the mighty city, creative city, sustainable city, resilient city, leads us to a more desirable city for sustainable urban life and development. In this regard, in order to have a sustainable living environment, the quality dimension of development must be considered to improve the quality of life. However, the significant issue in this regard, which has challenged existing programs and policies and labeled it inefficient, is a cross-sectional view of the issue. Over the past few decades, linear programming has been the dominant approach, so that the future was conceivable by discovering the causal relationship between the variables.  At this point in time, due to the uncertainty and the emergence of many actors in the field of planning and policy-making, such accurate predictions are no longer possible. Because with the emergence of actors and stakeholders, we have to wait for different futures that have different possibilities. To solve this problem and careful planning, policymakers and planners have unveiled a new approach called foresight. Mahabad city that is located in West Azerbaijan province is one of the medium-sized and densely populated cities that due to the intensity of migration from rural areas similar to most cities in the country, is facing issues such as illegal construction, uneven physical growth, intensifying the phenomenon of informal settlement and worn-out structures, the existence of various environmental pollutants and etc. Separation of urban classes and unfair distribution of urban services and lack of strategic planning will turn Mahabad into a city in the not too distant future whose indicators and components of livability will be difficult.
The purpose of the present study is to answer the question as follow:
 -What are the most important driving forces for the future development of livability indicators in Mahabad city?
Due to the nature of the present research and the perspective that has been considered for planning, the type of present research is applied in terms of purpose and also in terms of the nature of data, is among the qualitative research. The research method is based on a foresight approach. The present study is a part of documentary-survey research according to the method of data collection and information. In this research, based on the Delphi method, 24 specialists and executive officials of Mahabad city were identified and questionnaires were provided to them in two stages, and then their opinions on the research components in the Micmac software program were examined in order to determine the situation of effectiveness, impressionability and centrality of factors.
Results and discussion
Structural analysis method and Micmac software have been used to weigh and identify the most important effective driving forces of urban livability. The results of the study showed that due to the high score of direct and indirect impact among 40 variables, 10 key driving forces including the quality of the road network, sufficient lighting in the roads, access to public transportation and parking, the level of user adaptation, access to sidewalks and bicycle paths, the ratio of construction of sidewalks to the total area, sufficient income for households, the amount of investment Government facilities, adequate access to urban facilities (Internet, electricity, gas, etc.) and the level of air pollution will affect the future of Mahabad. According to the results, the ten driving forces in the effectiveness column had the largest share in direct effectiveness, of which eight variables in indirect effectiveness were repeated with slight shifts, and only the "sufficient income for households" variables ranged from 7th to 12th and variable. And the "air pollution rate" variable has been moved from 10 to 14. In impressionability, 9 of the 10 propellants in the direct impressionability column are the same propellants that have been replicated with changes in rankings in indirect impressionability. In addition, the "Quality of access to leisure and recreational uses" variable has been reduced from 10th to 11th and the "Visual quality of the street" variable has been moved from 11th to 10th.
The results showed that the key and important driving forces for the development of livability in Mahabad city, which are the same effectiveness variables with direct effectiveness. Therefore, according to the identified driving forces and considering the five effective dimensions in the future development of Mahabad livability, the following suggestions can be provided:
1- Socio-cultural dimension: forming people's associations for more people's participation and interactions between them, controlling the population growth of the city and controlling irregular migrations to Mahabad city in order to reduce air pollution and build new cities and towns and attract population overflows., increasing the per capita educational and cultural land uses in the neighborhoods of the city in order to reduce the daily traffic of students;
2- Economic dimension: investing in the private and public sectors to create jobs, organizing local markets, especially stock market and commercial centers to prevent traffic, pollution and congestion;
3- Physical-spatial dimension: organizing the network of passages and developing sidewalks and bicycle paths, fair distribution of centralized land uses in the city center and injecting the required service land uses into informal settlements and worn-out structures;
4- Environmental dimension: expansion and creation of green belt space around and inside of Mahabad city to soften the city's air and prevent environmental degradation, encourage and spread popular culture to use public vehicles instead of private ones to reduce vehicle traffic and air pollution;
5- Health-security dimension: development of street lighting system to increase the safety of pedestrians, design of optimal housing model compatible with the climate of Mahabad city in order to reduce the need to use mechanical cooling devices, increase appropriate health centers in the city, set up training classes in the field of premarital counseling and holding ceremonies and celebrations at the regional level to increase the mental health of citizens.


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