Assessment of the compatibility of urban neighborhoods with smart urban growth principles the case study of city Mashhad

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor of Geography and Urban Planning, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Human Geography, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


To better achieve the goals of smart urban growth, there is a need to measure the degree of compliance of different geographical areas with the principles and indicators of smart urban growth. Accordingly, the purpose of the present research is to measure the degree of compliance of the neighbourhoods of Mashhad with smart urban growth. For this reason, this research, using the SWARA weighting method and the WASPAS ranking method, as well as the use of the Geographical Information System (GIS) to analyze and evaluate 26 smart urban growth indicators in 156 neighbourhoods of Mashhad and then rank each of the neighbourhoods. This city has been evaluated in terms of compliance with smart urban growth indicators. The research method used in this research is descriptive-analytical. The results of the analysis show that the neighbourhoods of Azadshahr, 10 Di, and Koh Sangi respectively have the high. In contrast, NK, the whileneighbourhoodshoods of Shahid Bahonar, Mouad, and Keshavarz have the lowest rank in terms of compliance with smart urban growth indicators. In terms of the researched indicators,neighbourhoodshoods in Mashhad Cityity have the most compliance with the principle of mixed land use and the least compliance with the principle of creating diverse transportation opportunities. Also, the distribution of neighbourhoods compatible with smart urban growth has a relatively concentrated situation, which partially indicates spatial injustice in the city of Mashhad, so that mainly the neighbourhoods in the east, south, and northwest of Mashheadcity have the least compliance with the indicators of smart urban growth. As a result, it can be said that the state of compliance of the neighbourhoods of Mashhad with the indicators of smart urban growth is average and to some extent relatively low
Extended Abstract
The ultimate and common response of most cities of Iran (herein, city refers to a series of processes effective in the decision-making status of a city) to the increasing needs of residents, along with the efforts of a series of procedures and structures governing the cities, such as the political economy and land and housing speculation, over recent decades in the fields that totally pave the path for urban development, including housing, transportation, and land use, has been the intended or unintended provision of fields accelerating the increasing progress of the city borders into the surrounding lands and resources. Meanwhile, there is urban decay, along with empty, abandoned, and unused lands, in the neighborhoods of the cities, which can be easily developed to prevent urban sprawl costs. The city of Mashhad, the capital of Razavi Khorasan Province, is known as the second large city of Iran in terms of area and population. This huge city has also faced challenges concerning urban sprawl over recent years. Meanwhile, 6.1% of the area of the city, including 64 neighborhoods, is considered urban decay. In this regard, the smart urban growth strategy can reduce the mentioned contradiction, prevent urban sprawl and its costs, follow dense development in urban neighborhoods, and enhance their quality for their residents. The first and most important step to achieve the smart urban growth goals is to evaluate the current status of the neighborhoods of Mashhad in terms of the enjoyment or compatibility with the smart urban growth principles (the purpose of the present study) to gain an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of neighborhoods in the smart urban growth indexes. This research has used proper indexes to assess smart growth. It has also chosen the neighborhood level in the evaluations to focus on previous studies in this field.
The present study is descriptive-analytical in terms of nature and method. The studied statistical population included 156
neighborhoods of Mashhad. The initial information required in the research was obtained through library studies and documentary research, opinion polls among experts, and collection of the required spatial shapefiles concerning the various aspects of Mashhad based on the census 2016. The studied 26 indexes were weighted using the SWARA at first. Then, they were ranked based on the obtained weights using the WASPAS ranking method. The spatial analyses were also performed using the geographic information system (GIS).
Results and Discussion
The research findings showed that among the principles proposed, the mixed land use (0.071), creation of walkable neighborhoods (0.063), and provision of various transportation opportunities (0.045) obtained the highest weights, respectively. At the same time, the protection for open agricultural spaces and natural, environmental, and vulnerable wonders (0.018), encouragement of citizens for sustainable participation in the decisions concerning development (0.018), and guidance and empowerment of development in current societies (0.025) received the lowest weights, respectively, based on the SWARA weighting method. The WASPAS ranking results for each of the smart urban growth principles also indicated that the guidance and empowerment of development in current societies (0.368), creation of housing selection opportunities (0.367), use of dense buildings (0.227), creation of walkable neighborhoods (0.163), mixed land use (0.075), provision of various transportation opportunities (0.040), and creation of distinguished and attractive societies with emphasis on the concept of place (0.016) gained the highest score averages compared to other principles, respectively. Moreover, according to the results obtained for the ranking of Mashhad neighborhoods using the WASPAS method, the neighborhoods of Azadshahr (0.352), 10 Dey (0.349), and Kouhsangi (0.347) had the highest compatibility, respectively, and the neighborhoods of Shahid Bahonar (0.043), Mowood (0.075), and Keshavarz (0.077) had the lowest compatibility, respectively, with the smart urban growth principles. Accordingly, the difference between the most compatible and the most incompatible neighborhoods of Mashhad was 0.309. Both compatible and incompatible neighborhoods of Mashhad received very low scores in creating distinguished and attractive societies with emphasis on the concept of place.
Based on the research findings, it can be said that the spatial distribution of the completely and relatively compatible neighborhoods in Mashhad is not appropriate, and there is a spatial concentration. If the city is divided into northern, southern, western, and eastern zones, it can be seen that the northeastern, southeastern, and in general, the eastern zone of Mashhad, including Districts 2-7, 10, and 12, lack any neighborhood completely or relatively compatible with the smart urban growth principles. Only the city's western zone, including Districts 1, 8, 9, and 11, has the most compatible urban neighborhoods with the smart urban growth. It can be said that the neighborhoods compatible with smart growth are along the Vakilabad highway of Mashhad, which is approximately located in the northwest, while the completely incompatible neighborhoods are almost located in the suburbs, although being also dispersed in other neighborhoods. It can also be concluded that the concentration of compatible and completely compatible neighborhoods with smart urban growth principles in the western zone of Mashhad is due to the current physical expansion of the city toward the cities of Torqabeh and Shandiz. In general, the compatibility of the neighborhoods in Mashhad with the smart urban growth indexes is medium and almost low.
There is no funding support.
Authors’ Contribution
All of the authors approved thecontent of the manuscript and agreed on all aspects of the work.
Conflict of Interest
Authors declared no conflict of interest.
We are grateful to all the scientific consultants of this paper.


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