Quality of life is an extensive concept including elements such as good life, valuable life, satisfactory life, and happy life. This concept is influenced by such parameters as time and place, and individual and social values among others. Therefore, it has various meanings from the perspective of different individuals and groups. Today, the ultimate goal of all types of development is to improve quality of life, so its improvement is the main objective of all planning. With spatial planning development, the level of satisfaction with quality of life in planned areas is considered a primary and major goal. Since the starting point for the development of human communities is reaching a tenable understanding of people’s needs and then maintaining the achievements made by developments, evaluating quality of life satisfaction (mental quality of life) provides a suitable instrument for such an understanding. That is because studying quality of life (mental) opens a channel for dialogue between the authorities and the citizens for constructive interaction which leads to interpreting and discussing the key factors influencing people’s lives. Konarak, a small port city enjoying many capacities and opportunities for development, still faces many problems regarding social and economic indexes, especially in employment and income, literacy, and educational and medical infrastructures. Preliminary observations indicate the local people’s low level of satisfaction with urban life and livelihood in the city of Konarak. Their low level of dissatisfaction is associated with various socioeconomic factors and demographic characteristics.
The earliest theoretical model on satisfaction with living environment was introduced by Marena and Rodgers (1975). According to these researchers, satisfaction with living environment depends on the person’s perception and evaluation of the living environment characteristics. Therefore, people’s degree of satisfaction with the environment they live in indicates to what extent the goals set for improving quality of life have been met. According to them, the most important factors contributing to the quality of life in societies are economic factors (adequate income and ideal job). Mental indexes are generally measured based on psychological responses such as job satisfaction. Accordingly, quality of life satisfaction depends on many factors. In remote cities and disadvantaged areas, decreasing of employment and income, considerable distance from a larger urban center and geographic isolation, inefficient and unsuitable transportation network, and lack of or inadequate access to urban services make it more complicated to implement necessary policies for improving mental quality of life.
This is an applied research using descriptive-analytic method. After careful studying of theoretical bases and literature and pilot studies on the area under study, the indexes and variables subject to study were obtained and then research instrument was designed. Statistical population included the entire families of Konarak City amounting to 7975 households based on 2011 census. Population sample was calculated using Cochran method. 310 people were head of household in Konarak City. The data were collected using the researcher-made questionnaire and simple random selection. The validity of the questionnaire was confirmed by experts on the field and its reliability was approved using Cronbach’s alpha with the first 30 preliminary samples with a coefficient of 0.898. The obtained data and information were analyzed using statistical methods (bivariate T test, variance analysis and Pearson correlation) in SPSS.
Results and Discussion
In order to answer the first research question (At what level is the quality of life of Konark City’s urban households?), bivariate t test was utilized. According to the findings from analysis, the significance of difference between people’s qualities of life was confirmed both in general and in individual dimensions (economic, social and environmental). Upper and lower limits and mean difference were all found to be negative. Thus, considering mean of the population and other factors, mental quality of life among the citizens of Konarak is lower than the average.In order to examine the relationship between mental quality of life and demographic characteristics (head of the household’s education and employment status), results obtained from variance analysis (ANOVA) showed a significant relationship between the aforementioned variables. Although this significance did not indicate any certain ascending or descending trajectory, it was found out that for people with education levels higher than vocational school, quality of life has increased proportionately. This could be accounted for by the fact that individuals with education levels higher than vocation school have government jobs with a permanent monthly salary.In order to answer the second research question, variance analysis (ANOA) and Pearson correlation were used. Variance analysis findings showed that there was no significant relationship between the household’s housing status (personal or private, rental or organizational residence) and mental quality of life in Konarak City. That could be accounted for by considering the fact that more than 80 percent of the respondents stated that they owned houses (private residence).
The overall findings of the study indicate that in this city, mental quality of life in all economic, social and environmental dimensions is lower than average. These results comply, to some extent, with those of Rahnamaii et al (1390), Pourahmad et al (1391) and Marsoosi and Lajevardi (1393). Since perception and level of satisfaction represent implementation of development plans and citizens’ degree of access to urban services, findings of this research point to the weakness of urban development plans in Konarak City and lack of adequate access by the citizens to suitable urban services and generally indicates weak economic, socio-cultural and environmental infrastructures in this city. Therefore, these conditions demand a solution to improve the infrastructures and citizens’ access to urban service standards based on their needs and demands and local conditions.The findings of this study generally indicate weak economic, social and environmental development plans in Konarak City. It is necessary that authorities review their decisions and policies and implementation of urban development plans to improve citizens’ quality of line and satisfaction in order to attain sustained urban development.