Assessing Social Sustainability and its Determinants: The Case of a Rural District in The West of Iran

Document Type : research paper


1 MSc., Department of Geography, Faculty of Literature & Humanities, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of Literature & Humanities, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran.


Purpose: Conceptualization and evaluation of the level of social sustainability have a special status in sustainable development literature. This study was conducted to evaluate the level of social sustainability and the determinants affecting it in the Harasam Rural District in Western Iran.
Methods: Based on the theoretical background and literature, 12 quantitative and 28 qualitative indices were examined in the framework of five components. The population consisted of 1983 households of the mentioned rural district and the sample included 340 people. The research tool was household and village questionnaires. The validity of the tool was confirmed by an expert panel and the reliability by Cronbach's alpha test (α = 0.84). Fuzzy Topsis was used to measure the social sustainability of the villages and path analysis to analyze the data.
Results: The results showed that 100% of the villages of the rural district were in unsustainable or semi-sustainable states. Among the internal components, social justice and quality of life, respectively, had the greatest effect on social sustainability. Examining the external factors showed that the centrality of the settlement service and proximity to urban areas had a positive effect on the social sustainability of the investigated villages. Furthermore, out-immigration had the highest negative effect on the social sustainability of the villages.
Conclusion: This research re-emphasizes the importance of intra-generational justice based on social and spatial justice. Merely in the shadow of reducing social and regional inequalities and equitable distribution of development opportunities, the social sustainability of rural communities can be materialized.


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